Keyhole strategy aiming at minimizing hospital stay for surgical clipping of unruptured middle cerebral artery aneurysms

J Neurosurg 130:1359–1366, 2019

Aneurysms of the middle cerebral artery (MCA) are still most often treated by clipping through standard craniotomy, but a longer hospital stay is one of the main drawbacks of this treatment. The authors developed a pterional keyhole clipping strategy for unruptured MCA aneurysms with the intention of minimizing hospital stay. In this paper, they report on their experience with this approach and analyze the long-term neurological and radiological outcomes.

METHODS A total of 160 relatively small unruptured MCA aneurysms (mean 6.4 mm) were clipped through the pterional keyhole approach (19–30 mm, mean 24.6 mm) in 149 patients (aged 34–79 years, mean 62 years). Neurological and cognitive function were examined by several scales, including the modified Rankin Scale (mRS) and Mini–Mental State Examination (MMSE). Patients’ level of depression was assessed using the Beck Depression Inventory and Hamilton Depression Scale. The state of clipping was assessed at 1 year and then every few years after the operation.

RESULTS The mean duration of postoperative hospitalization was 2.3 ± 3.4 days; in 31.3% of the cases, the patients were discharged on the day after the operation (overnight hospital stay) and in 93.2% within 3 days. Of the patients younger than 60 years, 40.4% required only an overnight stay. Complete aneurysm neck clipping was confirmed in 157 cases (98.1%). None of the completely clipped aneurysms showed any recurrence during the mean follow-up period of 5.0 years. The mean length of clinical follow-up was 5.4 years. After 2 (1.3%) of the surgical procedures, the patients showed persistent neurological deficits, defined as mRS score 1, but the overall operative morbidity based on the International Study of Unruptured Intracranial Aneurysms (ISUIA) definition (mRS score ≥ 2 or MMSE score < 24) was 0% at the last examination. Depression scores were significantly improved after surgery, and in 85.6% of the cases the patients were satisfied with their cosmetic results.

CONCLUSIONS Pterional keyhole clipping is less invasive than clipping via standard craniotomy, minimizes hospital stay, and achieves durable treatment for relatively small unruptured MCA aneurysms.