Dura Management Strategies in the Surgical Treatment of Adult Chiari Type I Malformation

Operative Neurosurgery 23:304–311, 2022

Symptomatic Chiari I malformation is treated with suboccipital decompression and C1 laminectomy. However, whether the dura should be opened (durotomy) or enlarged with a graft (duraplasty) remains unclear.

OBJECTIVE: To compare outcomes in adult Chiari I malformation patients treated with duraplasty, durotomy, or without dural opening (“mini-decompression”).

METHODS: A retrospective, multicenter, population-based cohort study was performed of all adult patients surgically treated for a Chiari I malformation at 3 regional neurosurgical centers between 2005 and 2017. Three different dura management strategies were favored by the participating hospitals, with data stratified accordingly. The primary outcome was measured using the Chicago Chiari Outcome Scale (CCOS), dichotomized into favorable (CCOS ≥13) or unfavorable (CCOS ≤12). Propensity score matching was used to adjust for potential confounders in outcome comparisons.

RESULTS: In total, 318 patients were included, of whom 52% were treated with duraplasty, 37% with durotomy, and 11% with mini-decompression. In total, 285 (90%) showed a favorable surgical outcome (CCOS ≥13). Duraplasty was associated with more favorable CCOS and shorter hospital stay compared with durotomy, both in unadjusted (93% vs 84%. P = .018 and 6.0 vs 8.0 days, P < .001) and adjusted analyses (92% vs 84%, P = .044 and 6.0 vs 8.0 days, P < .001). Mini-decompression was excluded from the adjusted analyses because of its small sample size.

CONCLUSION: In this study of adult Chiari I malformation, posterior fossa decompression with duraplasty was associated with more favorable postoperative outcome, as determined by the CCOS, compared with posterior fossa decompression with durotomy alone.