Safety and Feasibility of Craniectomy with Duraplasty as the Initial Surgical Intervention for Severe Traumatic Brain Injury
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BACKGROUND: Decompressive craniectomy has historically served as a salvage procedure to control intracranial pressure after severe traumatic brain injury. We assessed the safety and feasibility of performing craniectomy as the initial surgical intervention. METHODS: Of 29 consecutive patients undergoing emergent decompression for severe traumatic brain injury with horizontal midline shift greater than explained by a removable hematoma, 17 had traditional craniotomy with or without brain resection and 12 underwent craniectomy. RESULTS: The craniectomy group had lower Glasgow Coma Scale scores at surgery (median, 4 vs. 7; p = 0.04) and more severe radiographic injuries (using specific measures). Mortality, Glasgow Outcome Scale scores, Functional Independence Measures, and length of stay in both the acute care setting and the rehabilitation phase were similar between the surgical groups. CONCLUSION: Despite more severe injury severity, patients undergoing initial craniectomy had outcomes similar to those undergoing traditional surgery. A randomized evaluation of the effect of early craniectomy on outcome is warranted.
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