Intracranial Tubular Retractor Systems: A Comparison and Review of the Literature of the BrainPath, Vycor, and METRx Tubular Retractors in the Management of Deep Brain Lesions

World Neurosurg. (2020) 143:134-146

In neurosurgery, parenchymal injury resulting from focal exertion of pressure on retracted tissue is a common complication associated with the use of plate and self-sustaining retractors to access deep intraparenchymal lesions. Tubular retractors, including Vycor, BrainPath, and METRx, were developed to reduce retraction injuries via radial dispersion of force.

Our study seeks to compare these retraction systems and assess their respective indications, benefits, and associated complications. A systematic review of PubMed MEDLINE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Web of Science, and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews was performed. Twenty-nine articles (n [ 289 patients) for BrainPath, 12 articles (n [ 106 patients) for Vycor, and 3 articles for METRx (n [ 31 patients) met the inclusion criteria.

This report is the first formal comparison of the BrainPath, Vycor, and METRx tubular retraction systems. We found that all 3 retractors were effective in accessing intraparenchymal lesions. Although we found that the retractor systems were used more commonly in different locations and for different diseases, there was no significant difference in complications or mortality among the 3 retractors.