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December 2016


Chronic subdural hematomas (CSDH), which are frequently encountered in neurosurgical practice, are, in the majority of cases, ideally treated with surgical drainage. Despite this common practice, there is still controversy surrounding the best surgical procedure. With lack of clear evidence of a superior technique, surgeons are free to base the decision on other factors that are not related to patient care. A retrospective chart review of 119 patients requiring surgical drainage of CSDH was conducted at a large tertiary care center over a three-year period. Of the cases reviewed, 58 patients underwent craniotomy, while 61 patients underwent burr hole washout. The study focused on re-operation rates, mortality, and morbidity, as measured by Glasgow coma scores (GCS), discharge Rankin disability scores, and discharge disposition. Secondary endpoints included length of stay and cost of procedure. Burr hole washout was superior to craniotomy with respect to patient outcome, length of stay and recurrence rates. In both study groups, patients required additional surgical procedures (6.6% of burr hole patients and 24.1% of craniotomy patients) (P = 0.0156). Of the patients treated with craniotomy, 51.7% were discharged home, whereas 65.6% of the burr hole patients were discharged home. Patients who underwent burr hole washout spent a mean of 78.8 minutes in the operating suite while the patients undergoing craniotomy spent 129.4 minutes (P < 0.001). The difference in mean cost per patient, based solely on operating time, was $2,828 (P < 0.001). This does not include the further cost due to additional procedures and hospital stay. The mean length of stay after surgical intervention was 3 days longer for the craniotomy group (P = 0.0465). Based on this retrospective study, burr hole washout is superior for both patients’ clinical and financial outcome; however, prospective long-term multicenter clinical studies are required to verify these findings.


Copyright: © 2015 Regan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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VCU Neurosurgery Publications