Optimal Timing of Cranioplasty and Predictors of Overall Complications After Cranioplasty: The Impact of Brain Collapse

Neurosurgery 93:84–94, 2023

The optimal timing of cranioplasty (CP) and predictors of overall postoperative complications are still controversial.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the optimal timing of CP.

METHODS: Patients were divided into collapsed group and noncollapsed group based on brain collapse or not, respectively. Brain collapse volume was calculated in a 3-dimensional way. The primary outcomes were overall complications and outcomes at the 12-month follow-up after CP.

RESULTS: Of the 102 patients in this retrospective observation cohort study, 56 were in the collapsed group, and 46 were in the noncollapsed group. Complications were noted in 30.4% (n = 31), 24 (42.9%) patients in the collapsed group and 7 (15.2%) patients in the noncollapsed group, with a significant difference (P = .003). Thirty-three (58.9%) patients had good outcomes (modified Rankin Scale 0-3) in the collapsed group, and 34 (73.9%) patients had good outcomes in the noncollapsed group without a statistically significant difference (P = .113). Brain collapse (P = .005) and Karnofsky Performance Status score at the time of CP (P = .025) were significantly associated with overall postoperative complications. The cut-off value for brain collapse volume was determined as 11.26 cm 3 in the receiver operating characteristic curve. The DC-CP interval was not related to brain collapse volume or postoperative complications.

CONCLUSION: Brain collapse and lower Karnofsky Performance Status score at the time of CP were independent predictors of overall complications after CP. The optimal timing of CP may be determined by tissue window based on brain collapse volume instead of time window based on the decompressive craniectomy-CP interval.


Factors Predicting Cerebrospinal Fluid Leaks in Microvascular Decompressions: A Case Series of 1011 Patients

Operative Neurosurgery 24(3):p 262-267, March 2023.

Microvascular decompression (MVD) using a retrosigmoid approach is a highly effective, open-surgical procedure for neurovascular conflict in the posterior fossa, although there is a risk of postoperative cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak.

To identify factors associated with postoperative CSF leakage after MVD.

We retrospectively reviewed all patients who underwent MVDs at our institution from 2007 to 2020. Patient demographics, clinical diagnoses, and procedural characteristics were recorded and compared. Factors leading to CSF leak were analyzed using χ2, univariate, and multivariate regression.

Of 1011 patients who underwent MVDs, 37 (3.7%) presented with postoperative CSF leaks. In univariate analysis, the use of Cranios/Norian to obliterate the air cells was protective against CSF leak (P = .01). Craniotomies (P = .002), the use of dural substitutes such as Durepair (P = .04), dural onlays such as DuraGen (P = .04), muscle/fascia (P = .03), and titanium mesh cranioplasty >5 cm (P = .03) were associated with CSF leak. On multivariate analysis, only the presence of craniotomies (P = .04) and nonprimary dural closure (P = .03) were significant risk factors for CSF leak. When excluding the 34 (3.4%) patients who underwent a craniotomy, the lack of primary dural closure still remained significantly associated with postoperative CSF leak (P = .04).

Our results represent one of the largest series of posterior fossa surgeries for a uniform indication in North America. Our study demonstrates increased risk for postoperative CSF leak when craniotomies are performed and when primary dural closure is not established. Given the small sample of patients who received a craniotomy, however, future studies corroborating this finding should be performed.

Customized cost‑effective polymethylmethacrylate cranioplasty: a cosmetic comparison with other low‑cost methods of cranioplasty

Acta Neurochirurgica (2022) 164:655–667

Intraoperative hand-moulded cranioplasty and polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) prostheses made from bone impressions are economical but the cosmetic results are less than satisfactory. Commercially available customized prostheses perform better but are prohibitively expensive. We evaluate the performance of a locally developed, low-cost customized PMMA cranioplasty prosthesis.

Objective To compare the cosmetic outcome of 3 types of PMMA cranioplasty as well as with objective measurements on postoperative CT scans

Methods This study includes 70 patients who underwent cranioplasty between March 2016 and June 2020. In this period, patients had their cranioplasty prostheses made by intra-operative hand moulding (HM), by using the removed bone as a template and making a bone impression (BI) or by 3D printing the prosthesis based on a CT scan. Cosmetic outcomes were assessed by the patient and the operating surgeon on an 8-point scale. The degree of measured anthropometric asymmetry was measured on a postoperative CT scan and correlated with the cosmetic outcome.

Results Our locally produced 3D-printed cranioplasty prostheses showed a statistically better performance in cosmetic scores when compared to the HM and BI (p value < 0.001). CT anthropometric measurements significantly correlated with cosmetic outcome (p value 0.01)

Conclusion Our 3D cranioplasty prostheses had better cosmetic outcomes than HM and BI prostheses, and our technique is able to produce them at 10% of the cost of the currently available commercial customized prostheses.

Hyperostosing sphenoid wing meningiomas: surgical outcomes and strategy for bone resection and multidisciplinary orbital reconstruction

J Neurosurg 134:711–720, 2021

Hyperostosing sphenoid wing meningiomas cause bony hyperostosis that may extend into the orbit, resulting in proptosis, restriction of extraocular movements, and/or compressive optic neuropathy. The extent of bony removal necessary and the optimal reconstruction strategy to prevent enophthalmos is debated. Herein, the authors present their surgical outcomes and reconstruction results.

METHODS This is a retrospective review of 54 consecutive patients undergoing resection of sphenoid wing meningiomas associated with bony hyperostosis. The majority of cases were operated on by the senior author. Extent of tumor resection, volumetric bone resection, radiographic exophthalmos index, complications, and recurrence were analyzed.

RESULTS The median age of the cohort was 52.1 years, with women comprising 83% of patients. Proptosis was a presenting symptom in 74%, and 52% had decreased visual acuity. The WHO grade was I (85%) or II (15%). The median follow-up was 2.6 years. On volumetric analysis, a median 86% of hyperostotic bone was resected. Gross-total resection of the intracranial tumor was achieved in 43% and the orbital tumor in 27%, and of all intracranial and orbital components in 20%. Orbital reconstruction was performed in 96% of patients. Postoperative vision was stable or improved in 98% of patients and diplopia improved in 89%. Postoperative complications occurred in 44% of patients, and 26% of patients underwent additional surgery for complication management. The most frequent complications were medical complications and extraocular movement deficits. The median preoperative exophthalmos index was 1.26, which improved to 1.12 immediately postoperatively and to 1.09 at the 6-month follow-up (p < 0.001). Postoperatively, 18 patients (33%) underwent adjuvant radiotherapy after subtotal resection. Tumors recurred/progressed in 12 patients (22%).

CONCLUSIONS Resection of hyperostosing sphenoid wing meningiomas, particularly achieving gross-total resection of hyperostotic bone with a good aesthetic result, is challenging and associated with notable medical and ocular morbidity. Recurrence rates in this series are higher than previously reported. Nevertheless, the authors were able to attain improvement in proptosis and visual symptoms in the majority of patients by using a multidisciplinary approach.

Cranioplasty following ventriculoperitoneal shunting: lessons learned

Acta Neurochirurgica (2021) 163:441–446

Cranioplasty (CP) is considered as a straightforward and technically unchallenging operation; however, complication rates are high reaching up to 56%. Presence of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt (VPS) and timing of CP are reported risk factors for complications. Pressure gradients and scarring at the site of the cranial defect seem to be critical in this context. The authors present their experiences and lessons learned.

Methods A consecutive series of all patients who underwent CP at the authors’ institution between 2002 and 2017 were included in this retrospective analysis. Complications were defined as all events that required reoperation. Logistic regression analysis and chi-squared test were conducted to evaluate the complication rates according to suspected risk factors.

Results A total of 302 patients underwent cranioplasty between 2002 and 2017. The overall complication rate was 17.5%. Complications included epi-/subdural fluid collection (7.3%) including hemorrhage (4.6%) and hygroma (2.6%), bone graft resorption (5.3%), bone graft infection (2.0%), and hydrocephalus (5.7%). Overall, 57 patients (18.9%) had undergone shunt implantation prior to CP. The incidence of epi-/subdural fluid collection was 19.3% in patients with VPS and 4.5% in patients without VPS, OR 5.1 (95% CI 2.1–12.4). Incidence of hygroma was higher in patients who underwent early CP. Patients with temporary shunt ligation for CP did not suffer from complications.

Conclusion CP in patients with a VPS remains a high-risk procedure. Any effort to understand the pressure dynamics and to reduce factors that may trigger the formation of a large epidural space must be undertaken.

Craniectomy size for subdural haematomas and the impact on brain shift and outcomes

Acta Neurochirurgica (2020) 162:2019–2027

Midline shift in trauma relates to the severity of head injury. Large craniectomies are thought to help resolve brain shift but can be associated with higher rates of morbidity. This study explores the relationship between craniectomy size and subtemporal decompression for acute subdural haematomas with the resolution of brain compression and outcomes. No systematic study correlating these measures has been reported.

Method A retrospective study of all adult cases of acute subdural haematomas that presented to a Major Trauma Centre and underwent a primary decompressive craniectomy between June 2008 and August 2013. Data collection included patient demographics and presentation, imaging findings and outcomes. All imaging metrics were measured by two independent trained assessors. Compression was measured as midline shift, brainstem shift and cisternal effacement.

Results Thirty-six patients with mean age of 36.1 ± 12.5 (range 16–62) were included, with a median follow-up of 23.5 months (range 2.2–109.6). The median craniectomy size was 88.7 cm2 and the median subtemporal decompression was 15.0 mm. There was significant post-operative resolution of shift as measured by midline shift, brainstem shift and cisternal effacement score (all p < .00001). There was no mortality, and the majority of patients made a good recovery with 82.8% having a Modified Rankin Score of 2 or less. There was no association between craniectomy size or subtemporal decompression and any markers of brain shift or outcome (all R2 < 0.05).

Conclusions This study suggests that there is no clear relationship between craniectomy size or extent of subtemporal decompression and resolution of brain shift or outcome. Further studies are needed to assess the relative efficacy of large craniectomies and the role of subtemporal decompression.

Autologous Cranioplasty is Associated with Increased Reoperation Rate: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Consensus regarding selection of synthetic versus autologous flap reimplantation for cranioplasty after decompressive craniectomy has not been reached and the multiple factors considered for each patient make comparative analysis challenging. This study examines the association between choice of material and related complications.

METHODS: A systematic literature review and meta-analysis were performed using PubMed for articles reporting delayed cranioplasty after decompressive craniectomy using a cohort design comparing autologous bone and synthetic implants. Extracted data included implant material and incidence of infection, reoperations related to implant, wound complications, and resorption. –

RESULTS: One randomized controlled trial and 11 cohort studies were included for a total of 1586 implants (950 bone, 636 synthetic). Autologous implants had significantly more reoperations than did synthetic implants (n [1586 implants; odds ratio [OR], 1.91; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.40e2.61). Reoperations were most often because of resorption (54%, n [ 159/295) followed by infection (41%, n [ 121/295). The pooled incidence of resorption in autologous implants was 20% (n [ 159/791). Among the other outcomes, there was no significant difference for infections (n [ 1586; OR, 1.24; CI, 0.82e1.88) or wound complications (n [ 678; OR, 0.56; CI, 0.22e1.45). For the trauma subpopulation, there was no significant difference in infection rate with either material (n [ 197; OR, 1.89; CI; 0.59e6.09).

CONCLUSIONS: Autologous implants had significantly more reoperations primarily because of the intrinsic risk of resorption (level of evidence 3b).

Effects of Cranioplasty on Cerebral Blood Flow Following Decompressive Craniectomy

Neurosurgery 81:204–216, 2017

Cranioplasty after decompressive craniectomy (DC) is routinely performed for reconstructive purposes and has been recently linked to improved cerebral blood flow (CBF) and neurological function.

OBJECTIVE: To systematically review all available literature to evaluate the effect of cranioplasty on CBF and neurocognitive recovery.

METHODS: A PubMed, Google Scholar, and MEDLINE search adhering to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines included studies reporting patients who underwent DC and subsequent cranioplasty in whom cerebral hemodynamics were measured before and after cranioplasty.

RESULTS: The search yielded 21 articles with a total of 205 patients (range 3–76 years) who underwent DC and subsequent cranioplasty. Two studies enrolled 29 control subjects for a total of 234 subjects. Studies used different imaging modalities, including CT perfusion (n = 10), Xenon-CT (n = 3), single-photon emission CT (n = 2), transcranial Doppler (n = 6), MR perfusion (n = 1), and positron emission tomography (n = 2). Precranioplasty CBF evaluation ranged from 2 days to 6 months; postcranioplasty CBF evaluation ranged from 7 days to 6 months. All studies demonstrated an increase in CBF ipsilateral to the side of the cranioplasty. Nine of 21 studies also reported an increase in CBF on the contralateral side.Neurological function improved in an overwhelming majority of patients after cranioplasty.

CONCLUSION: This systematic review suggests that cranioplasty improves CBF following DC with a concurrent improvement in neurological function. The causative impact of CBF on neurological function, however, requires further study.