Decompressive craniotomy: an international survey of practice

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and stroke have devastating consequences and are major global public health issues. For patients that require a cerebral decompression after suffering a TBI or stroke, a decompressive craniectomy (DC) is the most commonly performed operation. However, retrospective non-randomized studies suggest that a decompressive craniotomy (DCO; also known as hinge or floating craniotomy), where a bone flap is replaced but not rigidly fixed, has comparable outcomes to DC. The primary aim of this project was to understand the current extent of usage of DC and DCO for TBI and stroke worldwide.

A questionnaire was designed and disseminated globally via emailing lists and social media to practicing neurosurgeons between June and November 2019.

We received 208 responses from 60 countries [40 low- and middle-income countries (LMICs)]. DC is used more frequently than DCO, however, about one-quarter of respondents are using a DCO in more than 25% of their patients. The three top indications for a DCO were an acute subdural hematoma (ASDH) and a GCS of 9-12, ASDH with contusions and a GCS of 3-8, and ASDH with contusions and a GCS of 9-12. There were 8 DCO techniques used with the majority (60/125) loosely tying sutures to the bone flap. The majority (82%) stated that they were interested in collaborating on a randomized trial of DCO vs. DC.

Our results show that DCO is a procedure carried out for TBI and stroke, especially in LMICs, and most commonly for an ASDH. The majority of the respondents were interested in collaborating on a is a future randomized trial.

Role of Surgical Modality and Timing of Surgery as Clinical Outcome Predictors Following Acute Subdural Hematoma Evacuation

Background & objective
A Craniotomy (CO) or decompressive craniectomy (DC) are the two main surgical procedures employed for evacuation of acute traumatic subdural hematoma (ASDH). However, the optimal surgical procedure remains controversial. The beneficial effect of early surgical evacuation of acute subdural hematoma in improving outcome also remains unclear. Our objective was to study the role of these two parameters in determining the outcome in patients undergoing surgical evacuation of acute traumatic subdural hematoma.
A retrospective analysis of 58 patients presenting with acute traumatic subdural hematoma and with presenting Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) ≤ 8 that had been operated in Lahore General Hospital between June 2014 and July 2015 was performed. The demographic data, preoperative GCS, type of surgical procedure performed and timing of surgery were analysed.
Forty (69%) patients underwent CO, and eighteen (31%) patients underwent DC. The CO and DC groups showed no difference in the demographic data and preoperative GCS. Six patients survived in the craniotomy group, while none survived in the decompressive craniectomy group (p=0.083). The relationship of timing of surgery with survival in the craniotomy group was found not to be clinically significant (p=0.87).
In this study craniotomy was associated with a better outcome as compared to decompressive craniectomy, however, the difference did not reach statistical significance. Early surgery was also found not to be associated with an improved outcome.