This prospective randomized clinical study was designed to compare the effects of equal volumes of 7.5% hypertonic saline solution (HS) or 20% mannitol (M) on brain bulk and lumbar cerebrospinal fluid pressure (CSFP) during elective neurosurgical procedures (aneurysm, arteriovenous malformation, or tumor). After informed consent, 50 American Society of Anesthesiologists physical Status I (ASA I) patients were randomly assigned to M (n = 25) or HS (n = 25) groups. Anesthesia protocol was identical for both, and variables monitored included mean arterial blood pressure (MAP), heart rate (HR), central venous pressure (CVP), CSF pressure (CSFP), arterial blood gases (PaCO2 30–35 mm Hg), serum sodium, potassium, and osmolality, and diuresis. The study period started before hypertonic solution administration (T0) and ended at the opening of the dura mater or 60 min after T0. Data were assessed with repeated measures analysis of variance and Student t test with Bonferroni correction (p ≤ 0.05). MAP and CVP were the same in the two groups. After treatment, osmolality increased, and the increase at T15 was higher in HS-treated patients [316.6 ± 9.3 vs. 304.0 ± 12.0 (SD) mOsmol/kg; p < 0.001]. Sodium decreased after M and increased after HS. During the study, brain bulk was always considered satisfactory. CSFP was not different between M and HS groups and significantly decreased over time (p = 0.0056) with no difference between treatments. The results of the present study demonstrate that hypertonic saline is as effective as manmtol in reducing the brain bulk and the CSFP during elective neurosurgical procedures under general anesthesia.