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Side-effects of neurosurgery for children

Knowing your child is going to have neurosurgery can be a scary time for parents. Understanding why this is needed, what it involves and what to expect afterwards, can help you to prepare yourself and your child.

Neurosurgery can have several purposes related to the treatment and management of your child's tumour and its associated symptoms, including:

  • a biopsy to diagnosis the tumour type
  • a craniotomy to remove some or all of the tumour 
  • inserting chemotherapy drugs directly into the brain
  • putting in a shunt to help reduce the build-up of cerebrospinal fluid.

Common side-effects

Your child could also experience some or all of the following temporary effects:

  • sickness and nausea due to the anaesthetic
  • sore throat due to the tube used during surgery to regulate breathing and oxygen levels
  • headaches caused by swelling in their brain
  • momentary phases of feeling dizzy or confused
  • difficulty swallowing
  • ongoing tiredness
  • new symptoms, for example, personality changes, speech difficulties, co-ordination problems or epileptic seizures.

These effects usually disappear shortly after surgery, occasionally they may persist for longer periods. If you are worried about any symptoms, speak to your child's health team.

Get your free brain tumour information pack

Our FREE Brain Tumour Information Pack has been designed to help you through this difficult time, to guide you through the healthcare system, answer your questions, and reassure you that you're not alone so that you feel confident when discussing treatment and care options with your medical team.

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