This paper studied the effect of cranioplasty on intracranial pressure, postural ICP changes, and intracranial pulse wave amplitude. It found that cranioplasty restores normal intracranial physiology regarding postural ICP changes and intracranial pulse wave amplitude.
BackgroundDecompressive craniectomy (DC) is used in cases of severe intracranial hypertension or impending intracranial herniation. DC effectively lowers intracranial pressure (ICP) but carries a risk of severe complications related to abnormal ICP and/or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) circulation, eg, hygroma formation, hydrocephalus, and “syndrome of the trephined.”
ObjectiveTo study the long-term effect of DC on ICP, postural ICP regulation, and intracranial pulse wave amplitude (PWA).
MethodsProspective observational study including patients undergoing DC during a 12-mo period. Telemetric ICP sensors (Neurovent-P-tel; Raumedic, Helmbrechts, Germany) were implanted in all patients. Following discharge from the neuro intensive care unit (NICU), scheduled weekly ICP monitoring sessions were performed during the rehabilitation phase.
ResultsA total of 16 patients (traumatic brain injury: 7, stroke: 9) were included (median age: 55 yr, range: 19-71 yr). Median time from NICU discharge to cranioplasty was 48 d (range: 16-98 d) and during this period, mean ICP gradually decreased from 7.8 ± 2.0 mm Hg to -1.8 ± 3.3 mm Hg (P = .02). The most pronounced decrease occurred during the first month. Normal postural ICP change was abolished after DC for the entire follow-up period, ie, there was no difference between ICP in supine and sitting position (P = .67). PWA was markedly reduced and decreased from initially 1.2 ± 0.7 mm Hg to 0.4 ± 0.3 mm Hg (P = .05).
ConclusionFollowing NICU discharge, ICP decreases to negative values within 4 wk, normal postural ICP regulation is lost and intracranial PWA is diminished significantly. These abnormalities might have implications for intracranial fluid movements (eg, CSF and/or glymphatic flow) following DC and warrants further investigations.
Read the full paper in Neurosurgery (click here).