cra·​ni·​ot·​o·​my | \ ˌkrā-nē-ˈä-tə-mē How to pronounce craniotomy (audio) \
plural craniotomies

Definition of craniotomy

: surgical opening of the skull

Examples of craniotomy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The team implanted the system in a rat, performing a craniotomy to place 48 of the neurograins on the cerebral cortex—the outer layer of the brain—arranging the microchips to cover most of the motor and sensory areas. Emily Mullin, Wired, 13 Sep. 2021 Taken in that light, a craniotomy can be a relaxing experience, rather than one of abject terror. Michelle Weber, Longreads, 10 Aug. 2020 On July 16, surgeons performed a craniotomy on McClellan. Karen Pearlman, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 Aug. 2020 Since the pandemic began, Henry Ford doctors still were able to perform a heart transplant, two liver transplants and several craniotomies. Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press, 22 May 2020 In order to do her vision work, her monkey has a craniotomy, a small hole in its skull to facilitate the attachment of electrodes. Popular Science, 2 Apr. 2020 In one from 1987 Mr. Saul, looking like an addled Baby Yoda, has undergone a craniotomy which has left his brain exposed, letting us see its contents. New York Times, 13 Feb. 2020 Another craniotomy in Houston, just before Christmas, revealed a cyst in the same spot as the tumor. Melissa Gregory, USA TODAY, 8 Mar. 2020 Turner was under anesthetic while Ashkan and his colleagues performed the craniotomy, or removal of part of the skull. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'craniotomy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of craniotomy

1855, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for craniotomy

International Scientific Vocabulary

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Time Traveler for craniotomy

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The first known use of craniotomy was in 1855

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Last Updated

24 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Craniotomy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for craniotomy


cra·​ni·​ot·​o·​my | \ ˌkrā-nē-ˈät-ə-mē How to pronounce craniotomy (audio) \
plural craniotomies

Medical Definition of craniotomy

1 : the operation of cutting or crushing the fetal head to effect delivery fetal craniotomies…performed to save the life of the mother— R. E. Frisch
2 : surgical opening of the skull


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