Freehand stereotactic ventricular catheter insertion for ventriculoperitoneal shunts based on individualized radio-anatomical landmarks

Acta Neurochirurgica (2021) 163:1103–1112

The accurate placement of the ventricular catheter (VC) is critical in reducing the incidence of proximal failure of ventriculoperitoneal shunts (VPSs). The standard freehand technique is based on validated external anatomical landmarks but remains associated with a relatively high rate of VC malposition. Already proposed alternative methods have all their specific limitations. Herein, we evaluate the accuracy of our adapted freehand technique based on an individualized radio-anatomical approach. Reproducing the preoperative imaging on the patient’s head using common anatomical landmarks allows to define stereotactic VC coordinates to be followed at surgery.

Material and methods Fifty-five consecutive patients treated with 56 VPS between 11/2005 and 02/2020 fulfilled the inclusion criteria of this retrospective study. Burr hole coordinates, VC trajectory, and length were determined in all cases on preoperative computed tomography (CT) scan and were accurately reported on patients’ head. The primary endpoint was to evaluate VC placement accuracy. The secondary endpoint was to evaluate the rate and nature of postoperative VC-related complications.

Results Our new technique was applicable in all patients and no VC-related complications were observed. Postoperative imaging showed VC optimally placed in 85.7% and sub-optimally placed in 14.3% of cases. In all procedures, all the holes on the VC tip were found in the ventricular system.

Conclusions This simple individualized technique improves the freehand VC placement in VPS surgery, making its accuracy comparable to that of more sophisticated and expensive techniques. Further randomized controlled studies are required to compare our results with those of the other available techniques.