Retrospective Review of the Clinical Outcomes of Surgically Managed Patients with Intracranial Abscesses: A Single-Center Review Academic Article uri icon

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  • Objective

    This study analyzed patient, radiologic, and clinical factors associated with operative brain abscesses and patients' functional outcomes.


    A retrospective analysis was conducted of neurosurgical cases of brain abscesses from 2009 to 2019 at a Canadian center. Functional outcome was recorded as Modified Rankin Scale score and Extended Glasgow Outcome Scale score. Multivariate analysis was conducted to identify relevant prognostic factors.


    We identified 139 patients managed surgically for brain abscesses. Resection alone was performed in 64% of patients, whereas 26.6% underwent aspiration alone. Most were adults (93.2%) and male (68.3%). Immunocompromise risk factors included diabetes (24.5%), cancer (23.7%), and immunosuppressive therapy (11.5%). Likely sources were postoperative (17.3%), systemic spread (16.5%), and poor dentition (12.9%). Microorganisms cultured from abscess samples were mixed growth (28%), Streptococcus anginosus (24.5%), and Staphylococcus aureus (7.9%). Disposition was home (42.4%) or repatriation to a home hospital (50.4%). By Extended Glasgow Outcome Scale, 25.2% had an unfavorable outcome including a mortality of 11.5%. Factors on multivariate analysis associated with poor outcome included diabetes (odds ratio, 2.8; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.2-5.0) and ventricular rupture (odds ratio, 5.0; 95% CI, 1.7-13.5; hazard ratio, 12; 95% CI, 3.9-37.0). Supratentorial superficial eloquently located abscess was also associated with poor outcome (hazard ratio, 5.5; 95% CI, 1.8-16.7). Outcomes were similar with surgical excision and aspiration.


    Ventricular rupture and diabetes are significant risk factors for poor outcomes in intraparenchymal brain abscesses. No clear difference in outcomes was found between surgical excision or aspiration in our retrospective cohort.

publication date

  • September 2022