I have often referred to the hardware in my brain as my “brain bling”. It’s not a term I came up with myself, but stole from another survivor. I’ve always considered my brain bling to consist of my 20 coils, 1 stent and 1 clip. Basically, metal that is keeping me alive.
But wait, there’s more! I keep forgetting I have more metal in my head in the form of the plate and screws used to hold my bone flap in place.
The 20 coils and stent came first, then the clip via a craniotomy came after. A craniotomy is a type of surgery that removes part of the skull (a bone flap) to access the brain underneath. When the procedure is complete, neurosurgeons put the bone back in place and secure it with tiny plates and screws.
With my fingers, I can feel the plate and screws under my skin, and at certain angles and lighting they’re very visible sticking out slightly under my skin. The much more visible aspect of most people’s craniotomies is the “dent” or a skull compression that can occur.
The dent is a common occurrence due to the refitting of the bone flap. It is impossible to reattach the bone flap for a snug fit, for any number of reasons. Therefore, a space is created between the two bone surfaces and fitted as closely as possible. The bone is reattached and secured with the plates and screws to ensure very little movement and easy surgical access if it is necessary. However, the piece of bone can shift slightly and create that indentation.
They can use synthetic fillers to restore the normal contour around the dent, but I have opted not to have it. It just makes me nervous having something injected around that area. I pretty much try to cover my dent with my hair. I’m not horribly self-conscious about it (if the wind blows my hair up….THERE it is!), it’s just not that attractive. So, as long as I have bangs, why not use them to cover it up, right?
My Actual Brain/Head Bling Count:
1 Titanium Plate
2 Titanium Screws
1 Titanium Clip
20 Platinum Coils
And no, I do not set off the x-ray machine at airports.
2 thoughts on “All The Bling”
I had bilateral ruptured aneurysm 17 years ago. I was 37 and had craniotomy for clipping them in two separate surgeries. I think it took about a year for me to feel “normal” after surgery. Nobody ever warned me about the personality change that may happen after brain surgery. It wasn’t a severe difference but I definitely felt like a different person afterwards. It wasn’t till I saw a neurologist 10years later that I was asked if I felt “different” after surgery. I readily answered yes, yes. He said he asked that to every patient who had craniotomy procedure done. I was freaked out by it simply cause I had no idea, I thought it was just me. But let me add that it made me different in that I was way more humble,kinder person even. So it wasnt a bad change. Did you experience this?
Hi Valentina. Yes, I think we all feel differently after a brain event. I know I did and do. Especially when a rupture is involved, I think the new “normal” isn’t what you would consider normal BEFORE you rupture. I too, was never really “told” that would occur. We have to learn to grieve our previous self and accept our new post-rupture self. For many, that can be very difficult. For others, they realize they’ve been given a 2nd chance (or 3rd and 4th) in life and run with it. I have my own difficulties in dealing with it, but for the most part, I’m extremely fortunate and try to tell my story to help others get through it. I’m so glad you were finally able to find a good neurologist who “gets it” and helped you piece some pieces together and understand your story better. Congratulations on being a 17-year survivor!! Keep on living! Love & Peace. Heidi