Complications of Cranioplasty in Relation to Material: Systematic Review, Network Meta-Analysis and Meta-Regression

Neurosurgery 89:383–394, 2021

Cranioplasty is a ubiquitous neurosurgical procedure consisting of reconstruction of a pre-existing calvarial defect. Many materials are available, including polymethylmethacrylate in hand-moulded (hPMMA) and prefabricated (pPMMA) form, hydroxyapatite (HA), polyetheretherketone (PEEK) and titanium (Ti). OBJECTIVE: To perform a networkmeta-analysis (NMA) to assess the relationship between materials and complications of cranioplasty.

METHODS: PubMed/MEDLINE, Google Scholar, EMBASE, Scopus, and The Cochrane Library were searched from January 1, 1990 to February 14, 2021. Studies detailing rates of any of infections, implant exposure, or revision surgery were included. A frequentist NMA was performed for each complication. Risk ratios (RRs) with 95% CIs were calculated for each material pair.

RESULTS: A total of 3620 abstractswere screened and 31 full paperswere included. Surgical revision was reported in 18 studies and occurred in 316/2032 cases (14%; 95% CI 11-17). PEEK had the lowest risk of re-operation with a rate of 8/157 (5%; 95% CI 0-11) in 5 studies, superior to autografts (RR 0.20; 95% CI 0.07-0.57), hPMMA (RR 0.20; 95% CI 0.07-0.60), Ti (RR 0.39; 95% CI 0.17-0.92), and pPMMA (RR 0.14; 95% CI 0.04-0.51). Revision rate was 131/684 (19%; 95% CI 13-25; 10 studies) in autografts, 61/317 (18%; 95%CI 9-28; 7 studies) in hPMMA, 84/599 (13%; 95% CI 7-19; 11 studies) in Ti, 7/59 (9%; 95% CI 1-23; 3 studies) in pPMMA, and 25/216 (12%; 95%CI 4-24; 4 studies) in HA. Infection occurred in 463/4667 (8%; 95%CI 6-11) and implant exposure in 120/1651 (6%; 95% CI 4-9).

CONCLUSION: PEEK appears to have the lowest risk of cranioplasty revision, but further research is required to determine the optimal material.

Guidelines for the Management of Severe Traumatic Brain Injury: 2020 Update of the Decompressive Craniectomy Recommendations

Neurosurgery 87:427–434, 2020

When the fourth edition of the Brain Trauma Foundation’s Guidelines for theManagement of Severe Traumatic Brain Injury were finalized in late 2016, it was known that the results of the RESCUEicp (Trial of Decompressive Craniectomy for Traumatic Intracranial Hypertension) randomized controlled trial of decompressive craniectomy would be public after the guidelines were released.

The guideline authors decided to proceed with publication but to update the decompressive craniectomy recommendations later in the spirit of “living guidelines,” whereby topics are updated more frequently, and between new editions, when important new evidence is published.

The update to the decompressive craniectomy chapter presented here integrates the findings of the RESCUEicp study as well as the recently published 12-mo outcome data from the DECRA (Decompressive Craniectomy in Patients With Severe Traumatic Brain Injury) trial. Incorporation of these publications into the body of evidence led to the generation of 3 new level-IIA recommendations; a fourth previously presented level-IIA recommendation remains valid and has been restated. To increase the utility of the recommendations, we added a new section entitled Incorporating the Evidence into Practice.

This summary of expert opinion provides important context and addresses key issues for practitioners, which are intended to help the clinician utilize the available evidence and these recommendations. The full guideline canbe found at: https://braintrauma.org/guidelines/guidelines-for-themanagement- of-severe-tbi-4th-ed#/.

Chiari I malformation—neuropsychological functions and quality of life

Acta Neurochirurgica (2020) 162:1575–1582

Objective To assess the neuropsychological (NP) functioning and quality of life (QOL) before and 3 months after surgery on adults with Chiari I malformation (CMI).

Patients and methods All adult patients who had been diagnosed with CMI were invited to participate. Those who participated were assessed using a Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale (HAD) and NP examinations. Their QOL was assessed using the self-reported life satisfaction checklist, LiSat-11 and the five-dimensional EuroQol measurement of health outcome, EQ-5D-5L. All assessments were carried out both before and 3 months after surgery was performed. Demographic data and comorbidities were also registered.

Results Of the 11 patientswho underwentNP assessment, the majority demonstrated cognitive functioning within the normal range. However, postoperatively, their performance in verbal learning, psychomotor speed, colour naming speed and the ability to manage interference through response selection and inhibition (aspects of executive functioning) was significantly improved. Thirteen patients completed QOL assessments. When LiSat-11 item domains were compared with those of healthy subjects, patients reported a lower level of satisfaction with their life quality both before and after surgery. However, the EQ-5D-5L measurements, i.e., the descriptive system and the visual analogue, indicated that their QOL of life was significantly improved after surgery.

Conclusion There is scarcely any literature documenting effects of surgery on the QOL of CMI patients. The study we present here breaks new ground by comparing pre- and postoperative NP functions in CMI. We also examine the value of surgery for improving both NP functions and QOL in CMI.

Effect of decompressive craniectomy in the postoperative expansion of traumatic intracerebral hemorrhage: a propensity score–based analysis

J Neurosurg 132:1623–1635, 2020

Traumatic intracerebral hemorrhage (TICH) represents approximately 13%–48% of the lesions after a traumatic brain injury (TBI), and hemorrhagic progression (HP) occurs in 38%–63% of cases. In previous studies, decompressive craniectomy (DC) has been characterized as a risk factor in the HP of TICH; however, few studies have focused exclusively on this relationship. The object of the present study was to analyze the relationship between DC and the growth of TICH and to reveal any correlation with the size of the craniectomy, degree of cerebral parenchymal herniation (CPH), or volumetric expansion of the TICH.

METHODS The authors retrospectively analyzed the records of 497 adult patients who had been consecutively admitted after suffering a severe or moderate closed TBI. An inclusion criterion was presentation with one or more TICHs on the initial or control CT. Demographic, clinical, radiological, and treatment variables were assessed for associations.

RESULTS Two hundred three patients presenting with 401 individual TICHs met the selection criteria. TICH growth was observed in 281 cases (70.1%). Eighty-two cases (20.4%) underwent craniectomy without TICH evacuation. In the craniectomy group, HP was observed in 71 cases (86.6%); in the noncraniectomy group (319 cases), HP occurred in 210 cases (65.8%). The difference in the incidence of HP between the two groups was statistically significant (OR 3.41, p < 0.01). The mean area of the craniectomy was 104.94 ± 27.5 cm2, and the mean CPH distance through the craniectomy was 17.85 ± 11.1 mm. The mean increase in the TICH volume was greater in the groups with a craniectomy area > 115 cm2 and CPH > 25 mm (16.12 and 14.47 cm3, respectively, p = 0.01 and 0.02). After calculating the propensity score (PS), the authors followed three statistical methods—matching, stratification, and inverse probability treatment weighting (IPTW)—thereby obtaining an adequate balance of the covariates. A statistically significant relationship was found between HP and craniectomy (OR 2.77, p = 0.004). This correlation was confirmed with the three methodologies based on the PS with odds greater than 2.

CONCLUSIONS DC is a risk factor for the growth of TICH, and there is also an association between the size of the DC and the magnitude of the volume increase in the TICH.

 

Implementation of cisternostomy as adjuvant to decompressive craniectomy for the management of severe brain trauma

Acta Neurochirurgica (2020) 162:469–479

Objective To evaluate the value of an adjuvant cisternostomy (AC) to decompressive craniectomy (DC) for the management of patients with severe traumatic brain injury (sTBI).

Methods A single-center retrospective quality control analysis of a consecutive series of sTBI patients surgically treated with AC or DC alone between 2013 and 2018. A subgroup analysis, “primary procedure” and “secondary procedure”, was also performed. We examined the impact of AC vs. DC on clinical outcome, including long-term (6 months) extended Glasgow outcome scale (GOS-E), the duration of postoperative ventilation, and intensive care unit (ICU) stay, mortality, Glasgow coma scale at discharge, and time to cranioplasty. We also evaluated and analyzed the impact of AC vs. DC on post-procedural intracranial pressure (ICP) and brain tissue oxygen (PbO2) values as well as the need for additional osmotherapy and CSF drainage.

Results Forty patients were examined, 22 patients in the DC group, and 18 in the AC group. Compared with DC alone, AC was associated with significant shorter duration of mechanical ventilation and ICU stay, as well as better Glasgow coma scale at discharge. Mortality rate was similar. At 6-month, the proportion of patients with favorable outcome (GOS-E ≥ 5) was higher in patients with AC vs. DC [10/18 patients (61%) vs. 7/20 (35%)]. The outcome difference was particularly relevant when AC was performed as primary procedure (61.5% vs. 18.2%; p = 0.04). Patients in the AC group also had significant lower average postsurgical ICP values, higher PbO2 values and required less osmotic treatments as compared with those treated with DC alone.

Conclusion Our preliminary single-center retrospective data indicate that AC may be beneficial for the management of severe TBI and is associated with better clinical outcome. These promising results need further confirmation by larger multicenter clinical studies. The potential benefits of cisternostomy should not encourage its universal implementation across trauma care centers by surgeons that do not have the expertise and instrumentation necessary for cisternal microsurgery. Training in skull base and vascular surgery techniques for trauma care surgeons would avoid the potential complications associated with this delicate procedure.

Randomized controlled study comparing 2 surgical techniques for decompressive craniectomy: with watertight duraplasty and without watertight duraplasty

J Neurosurg 129:1017–1023, 2018

Decompressive craniectomy (DC) is a widely used procedure in neurosurgery; however, few studies focus on the best surgical technique for the procedure. The authors’ objective was to conduct a prospective randomized controlled trial comparing 2 techniques for performing DC: with watertight duraplasty and without watertight duraplasty (rapid-closure DC).

METHODS The study population comprised patients ranging in age from 18 to 60 years who were admitted to the Neurotrauma Service of the Hospital da Restauração with a clinical indication for unilateral decompressive craniectomy. Patients were randomized by numbered envelopes into 2 groups: with watertight duraplasty (control group) and without watertight duraplasty (test group). After unilateral DC was completed, watertight duraplasty was performed in the control group, while in the test group, no watertight duraplasty was performed and the exposed parenchyma was covered with Surgicel and the remaining dura mater. Patients were then monitored daily from the date of surgery until hospital discharge or death. The primary end point was the incidence of surgical complications (CSF leak, wound infection, brain abscess, or subgaleal fluid collections). The following were analyzed as secondary end points: clinical outcome (analyzed using the Glasgow Outcome Scale [GOS]), surgical time, and hospital costs.

RESULTS Fifty-eight patients were enrolled, 29 in each group. Three patients were excluded, leaving 27 in the test group and 28 in the control group. There were no significant differences between groups regarding age, Glasgow Coma Scale score at the time of surgery, GOS score, and number of postoperative follow-up days. There were 9 surgical complications (5 in the control group and 4 in the test group), with no significant differences between the groups. The mean surgical time in the control group was 132 minutes, while in the test group the average surgical time was 101 minutes, a difference of 31 minutes (p = 0.001). The mean reduction in total cost was $420.00 USD (a 23.4% reduction) per procedure in the test group.

CONCLUSIONS Rapid-closure DC without watertight duraplasty is a safe procedure. It is not associated with a higher incidence of surgical complications (CSF leak, wound infection, brain abscess, or subgaleal fluid collections), and it decreased surgical time by 31 minutes on average. There was also a hospital cost reduction of $420.00 USD (23.4% reduction) per procedure. Clinical trial registration no.: NCT02594137 (clinicaltrials.gov)

 

A randomised controlled trial comparing autologous cranioplasty with custom-made titanium cranioplasty

Acta Neurochirurgica (2018) 160:885–891

Objective To compare the long-term outcomes of patients who had been randomly allocated to receive primary titanium cranioplasty or autologous bone graft following decompressive craniectomy.

Methods Sixty-four patients had been previously enrolled and randomised to receive either their own bone graft or a primary titanium cranioplasty. Functional and cosmetic outcomes had previously been assessed at 1-year following the cranioplasty procedure. Hospital records and the Picture Archiving communication system were reviewed to determine how many patients had cranioplasty failure or associated complications such as seizures beyond 1 year—with a minimum of 24-month follow-up.

Results Amongst the 31 patients in the titanium group (one patient had died), no patients had a partial or complete cranioplasty failure at 12 months follow-up and there had been no failures beyond 12 months. Amongst the 31 patients who had an autologous cranioplasty (one patient had died), 7 patients had complete resorption of the autologous bone such that it was adjudged a complete failure at 12-month follow-up. Five of these patients had had titanium augmentation and two patients declined further surgery. Both of these patients requested cranial augmentation for functional and cosmetic reasons subsequent to the 12-month follow-up. Another patient who had previously been noted to have moderate resorption at 12 months presented 1 year later with progressive bone flap resorption and also required subsequent augmentation for functional and cosmetic reasons. When follow-up was extended to a minimum of 24 months, use of titanium instead of autologous bone for primary cranioplasty resulted in a significant reduction in the number of patients who required rescue cranioplasty (0 vs 25%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 9.1–42.1%; p = 0.001). In addition, there were significantly less total hospital healthcare costs in those patients randomised to the titanium arm of the trial (difference = A$9999, 95%CI 2231–17,768; p = 0.015).

Conclusions Bone resorption continued to occur beyond 12 months after autologous cranioplasty; use of primary titanium cranioplasty after decompressive craniectomy reduced the number of reoperations needed and the associated long-term total hospital costs.

Syndrome of the Trephined: A Systematic Review

syndrome-of-the-trephined-a-systematic-review

Neurosurgery 79:525–534, 2016

Syndrome of the trephined (SoT) is a rare, important complication of a craniectomy characterized by neurological dysfunction that improves with cranioplasty. Its varied symptoms include motor, cognitive, and language deficits. Its exact characterization appears suboptimal, with differing approaches of evaluation. Accordingly, this topic is in great need of further investigation.

OBJECTIVE: To accurately describe SoT and explore methods of an objective diagnosis/ evaluation.

METHODS: Electronic searches of PubMed, MEDLINE, Web of Knowledge, and PsycINFO databases used the key words “syndrome of the trephined” and “sinking skin flap.” Non–English-language and duplicate articles were eliminated. Title and abstract reviews were selected for relevance. Full-text reviews were selected for articles providing individual characteristics of SoT patients.

RESULTS: This review identified that SoT most often occurs in male patients (60%) at 5.1 6 10.8 months after craniectomy for neurotrauma (38%). The average reported craniectomy is 88.3 6 34.4 cm2 and usually exists with a “sunken skin flap” (93%). Symptoms most commonly include motor, cognitive, and language deficits (57%, 41%, 28%, respectively), with improvement after cranioplasty within 3.8 6 3.9 days. Functional independence with activities of daily living is achieved by 54.9% of patients after 2.9 6 3.4 months of rehabilitation. However, evaluation of SoT is inconsistent, with only 53% of reports documenting objective studies.

DISCUSSION: SoT is a variable phenomenon associated with a prolonged time to cranioplasty. Due to current weaknesses in objectivity, we hypothesize that SoT is often underdiagnosed and recommend a multifaceted approach for consistent evaluation.

CONCLUSION: SoT is a serious complication that lacks exact characterization and deserves future investigation. Improved understanding and recognition have important implications for early intervention and patient outcomes.

Rotterdam ct scores before decompressive craniectomy

CT score TBI

J Neurosurg 124:1640–1645, 2016

Rotterdam CT scoring is a CT classification system for grouping patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) based on multiple CT characteristics. This retrospective study aimed to determine the relationship between initial or preoperative Rotterdam CT scores and TBI prognosis after decompressive craniectomy (DC).

Methods: The authors retrospectively reviewed the medical records of all consecutive patients who underwent DC for nonpenetrating TBI in 2 hospitals from January 2006 through December 2013. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analyses were used to determine the relationship between initial or preoperative Rotterdam CT scores and mortality at 30 days or Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) scores at least 3 months after the time of injury. Unfavorable outcomes were GOS Scores 1–3 and favorable outcomes were GOS Scores 4 and 5.

Results: A total of 48 cases involving patients who underwent DC for TBI were included in this study. Univariate analyses showed that initial Rotterdam CT scores were significantly associated with mortality and both initial and preoperative Rotterdam CT scores were significantly associated with unfavorable outcomes. Multivariable logistic regression analysis adjusted for established predictors of TBI outcomes showed that initial Rotterdam CT scores were significantly associated with mortality (OR 4.98, 95% CI 1.40–17.78, p = 0.01) and unfavorable outcomes (OR 3.66, 95% CI 1.29–10.39, p = 0.02) and preoperative Rotterdam CT scores were significantly associated with unfavorable outcomes (OR 15.29, 95% CI 2.50–93.53, p = 0.003). ROC curve analyses showed cutoff values for the initial Rotterdam CT score of 5.5 (area under the curve [AUC] 0.74, 95% CI 0.59–0.90, p = 0.009, sensitivity 50.0%, and specificity 88.2%) for mortality and 4.5 (AUC 0.71, 95% CI 0.56–0.86, p = 0.02, sensitivity 62.5%, and specificity 75.0%) for an unfavorable outcome and a cutoff value for the preoperative Rotterdam CT score of 4.5 (AUC 0.81, 95% CI 0.69–0.94, p < 0.001, sensitivity 90.6%, and specificity 56.2%) for an unfavorable outcome.

Conclusions: Assessment of changes in Rotterdam CT scores over time may serve as a prognostic indicator in TBI and can help determine which patients require DC.

Decompressive craniectomy for severe traumatic brain injury: is life worth living?

decompressive craniectomy

J Neurosurg 119:1566–1575, 2013

The object of this study was to assess the long-term outcome and quality of life of patients who have survived with severe disability following decompressive craniectomy for severe traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Methods. The authors assessed outcome beyond 3 years among a cohort of 39 patients who had been adjudged either severely disabled or in vegetative state 18 months after decompressive craniectomy for TBI. Assessments performed included the Extended Glasgow Outcome Scale, modified Barthel Index (mBI), Zarit Burden Interview, and 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36). The issue of retrospective consent for surgery was also assessed.

Results. Of the 39 eligible patients, 7 died, 12 were lost to follow-up, and 20 patients or their next of kin consented to participate in the study. Among those 20 patients, 5 in a vegetative state at 18 months remained so beyond 3 years, and the other 15 patients remained severely disabled after a median follow-up of 5 years. The patients’ average daily activity per the mBI (Pearson correlation coefficient [r] = -0.661, p = 0.01) and SF-36 physical score (r = -0.543, p = 0.037) were inversely correlated with the severity of TBI. However, the SF-36 mental scores of the patients were reasonably high (median 46, interquartile range 37–52). The majority of patients and their next of kin believed that they would have provided consent for surgical decompression even if they had known the eventual outcome.

Conclusions. Substantial physical recovery beyond 18 months after decompressive craniectomy for severe TBI was not observed; however, many patients appeared to have recalibrated their expectations regarding what they believed to be an acceptable quality of life.

Interhemispheric hygroma after decompressive craniectomy: does it predict posttraumatic hydrocephalus?

Journal of Neurosurgery, June 2010. DOI: 10.3171/2010.4.JNS10132

The aim of this study was to determine the incidence of posttraumatic hydrocephalus in severely head-injured patients who required decompressive craniectomy (DC). Additional objectives were to determine the relationship between hydrocephalus and several clinical and radiological features, with special attention to subdural hygromas as a sign of distortion of the CSF circulation.

Methods The authors conducted a retrospective study of 73 patients with severe head injury who required DC. The patients were admitted to the authors’ department between January 2000 and January 2006. Posttraumatic hydrocephalus was defined as: 1) modified frontal horn index greater than 33%, and 2) the presence of Gudeman CT criteria. Hygromas were diagnosed based on subdural fluid collection and classified according to location of the craniectomy.

Results Hydrocephalus was diagnosed in 20 patients (27.4%). After uni- and multivariate analysis, the presence of interhemispheric hygromas (IHHs) was the only independent prognostic factor for development of posttraumatic hydrocephalus (p < 0.0001). More than 80% of patients with IHHs developed hydrocephalus within the first 50 days of undergoing DC. In all cases the presence of hygromas preceded the diagnosis of hydrocephalus. The IHH predicts the development of hydrocephalus after DC with 94% sensitivity and 96% specificity. The presence of an IHH showed an area under the receiver-operator characteristic of 0.951 (95% CI 0.87–1.00; p < 0.0001).

Conclusions Hydrocephalus was observed in 27.4% of the patients with severe traumatic brain injury who required DC. The presence of IHHs was a predictive radiological sign of hydrocephalus development within the first 6 months of DC in patients with severe head injury.

Cerebral Hemodynamic Changes in Severe Head Injury Patients Undergoing Decompressive Craniectomy

J Neurosurg Anesthesiol 2009;21:339–345

Objective: To assess the intracranial hemodynamic modifica- tions induced by a decompressive craniectomy (DC) after severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), using transcranial Doppler (TCD) ultrasonography and intracranial pressure (ICP) sensor. Mor- tality rate and neurological outcomes were also evaluated after this procedure.

Design: A prospective study was carried out on 26 TBI patients, measuring transcranial Doppler and ICP before, immediately after, and 48 hours after the DC, allowing for statistical analysis of hemodynamic changes. The mortality rate and the neuro- logical outcomes were assessed.

Measurements and Results: After DC, ICP decreased from 37±17 to 20±13mm Hg (P=0.0003). The global cerebral blood flow was modified with diastolic velocities rising from 23±15 to 31±13cm/s (P=0.0038) and a pulsatility index decreasing from 1.70±0.66 to 1.18±0.37 (P=0.0012). This normalization of the global cerebral hemodynamics after the DC was immediate, symmetric, and constant during the first 48 hours. Outcome was evaluated at 6 months: good recovery or moderate disability was observed in 11 patients (42%), persistent vegetative state in 7 patients (27%), and 8 patients died (31%).

Conclusions: The DC results in a significant, immediate, and durable improvement of ICP associated with a normalization of cerebral blood flow velocities in most TBI patients with refractory intracranial hypertension.


Cerebral Hemodynamic Changes in Severe Head Injury Patients Undergoing Decompressive Craniectomy

J Neurosurg Anesthesiol 2009;21:339–345

A prospective study was carried out on 26 TBI patients, measuring transcranial Doppler and ICP before, immediately after, and 48 hours after the DC, allowing for statistical analysis of hemodynamic changes. The mortality rate and the neuro- logical outcomes were assessed.

Measurements and Results: After DC, ICP decreased from 37±17 to 20±13mm Hg (P=0.0003). The global cerebral blood flow was modified with diastolic velocities rising from 23±15 to 31±13cm/s (P=0.0038) and a pulsatility index decreasing from 1.70±0.66 to 1.18±0.37 (P=0.0012). This normalization of the global cerebral hemodynamics after the DC was immediate, symmetric, and constant during the first 48 hours. Outcome was evaluated at 6 months: good recovery or moderate disability was observed in 11 patients (42%), persistent vegetative state in 7 patients (27%), and 8 patients died (31%).

Conclusions: The DC results in a significant, immediate, and durable improvement of ICP associated with a normalization of cerebral blood flow velocities in most TBI patients with refractory intracranial hypertension.