Asymptomatic Postoperative Cerebral Venous Sinus Thrombosis After Posterior Fossa Tumor Surgery: Incidence, Risk Factors, and Therapeutic Options

Neurosurgery 92:1171–1176, 2023

Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) is a known complication of posterior fossa surgery near the sigmoid and transverse sinus. The incidence and treatment of postoperative asymptomatic CVST are controversial.

OBJECTIVE: To analyze incidence, risk factors, and management of asymptomatic postoperative CVST after posterior fossa tumor surgery.

METHODS: In this retrospective, single-center study, we included all patients who underwent posterior fossa tumor surgery in the semisitting position between January 2013 and December 2020. All patients underwent preoperative and postoperative imaging using MRI with/without additional computed tomography angiography. We analyzed the effect of demographic and surgical data on the incidence of postoperative CVST. Furthermore, therapeutic anticoagulation or conservative treatment for postoperative CVST and the incidence of intracranial hemorrhage were investigated.

RESULTS: In total, 266 patients were included. Thirty-three of 266 (12.4%) patients developed postoperative CVST. All patients were asymptomatic. Thirteen of 33 patients received therapeutic anticoagulation, and 20 patients did not. Univariate analysis showed that age (P= .56), sex (P = .20), American Society of Anesthesiology status (P = .13), body mass index (P = .60), and length of surgery (P= .176) were not statistically correlated with postoperative CVST. Multivariate analysis revealed that meningioma (P < .001, odds ratio 11.3, CI 95% 4.1-31.2) and vestibular schwannoma (P = .013, odds ratio 4.4, CI 95% 1.3-16.3) are risk factors for the development of new postoperative CVST. The use of therapeutic anticoagulation to treat postoperative CVST was associated with a higher rate of intracranial hemorrhage (n = 4, P = .017).

CONCLUSION: Tumor entity influences the incidence of postoperative CVST. In clinically asymptomatic patients, careful decision making is necessary whether to initiate therapeutic anticoagulation or not.