Journal of Neurosciences in Rural Practice

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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 120-121  


Mito Medical Center, Faculty of Medicine, Tsukuba University Hospital, University of Tsukuba, Mito Kyodo Hospital, Mito, Ibaraki, Japan

Date of Web Publication4-Jan-2019

Correspondence Address:
Ryota Mashiko
Mito Medical Center, Faculty of Medicine, Tsukuba University Hospital, University of Tsukuba, Mito Kyodo Hospital, 3-2-7 Miya-Mahci, Mito 310-0015, Ibaraki
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jnrp.jnrp_313_18

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How to cite this article:
Mashiko R. Commentary. J Neurosci Rural Pract 2019;10:120-1

How to cite this URL:
Mashiko R. Commentary. J Neurosci Rural Pract [serial online] 2019 [cited 2019 May 26];10:120-1. Available from:

Several methods[1],[2] have been proposed to reduce postsurgical intracranial residual air, “pneumocephalus,” in chronic subdural hematoma, and postoperative pneumocephalus is thought to relate to higher recurrence rates.[3] Furthermore, tension pneumocephalus has been reported repeatedly.[4] Despite these points, some authors believe that postoperative pneumocephalus is not serious.[5] I also believe that the small amount of residual intracranial air may not lead to serious complications.

To minimize intracranial air, it is indispensable and most essential to keep the burr hole at the highest point during the surgery, which is a common and basic method described widely in major texts books.[6],[7] I believe that massive intracranial air exiting postoperatively principally depends on inadequate intraoperative burr-hole position. Exceptions include the small number of patients in whom adequate positioning of the burr hole cannot be obtained because of stiff neck or restless conditions. Patients requiring emergent simultaneous drainage of bilateral hematomas are also in this category.

Detailed descriptions on how to keep the burr hole at the highest position are not found in current texts. I use the following method:First, patients are positioned in a motorized bed with their head rotated to the contralateral side. Two dorsal plates are set ventrally to avoid patients slipping downward intraoperatively, and most of the operation is performed with patients in the flat supine position. After inserting the drainage tube and irrigating the hematoma, we rotate the bed to the contralateral side and elevate the patient's head to keep the burr hole at the highest position. We inject saline through the drainage tube to eject the remaining air then the skin is closed, and the patient is returned to the flat supine position. Using this approach, I have not experienced residual massive intracranial air.

The authors propose a new method of safely evacuating air during surgery for chronic subdural hematoma in the article “Burr-Hole Evacuation of Chronic Subdural Hematoma: Biophysically and Evidence-Based Technique Improvement” published in the current issue of Journal of Neurosciences in Rural Practice.[8] The authors also discuss a perioperative and intraoperative therapeutic strategy in detail and declare the safety of their method.

I have the following concerns: the method the authors used intraoperatively inserting two drains is associated with potential serious risk, which is not described in the paper. During saline injection into the hematoma cavity, blockage of the front tube with clots may lead to intracranial hypertension. Therefore, the authors' method has additional risks compared with simple irrigation and drainage and should be confined to patients in whom adequate positioning of the burr holes cannot be maintained.

   References Top

Kitakami A, Ogawa A, Hakozaki S, Kidoguchi J, Obonai C, Kubo N, et al. Carbon dioxide gas replacement of chronic subdural hematoma using single burr-hole irrigation. Surg Neurol 1995;43:574-7.  Back to cited text no. 1
Caron JL, Worthington C, Bertrand G. Tension pneumocephalus after evacuation of chronic subdural hematoma and subsequent treatment with continuous lumbar subarachnoid infusion and craniostomy drainage. Neurosurgery 1985;16:107-10.  Back to cited text no. 2
You CG, Zheng XS. Postoperative pneumocephalus increases the recurrence rate of chronic subdural hematoma. Clin Neurol Neurosurg 2018;166:56-60.  Back to cited text no. 3
Shaikh N, Masood I, Hanssens Y, Louon A, Hafiz A. Tension pneumocephalus as complication of burr-hole drainage of chronic subdural hematoma: A case report. Surg Neurol Int 2010;1.pii: 27.  Back to cited text no. 4
Ihab Z. Pneumocephalus after surgical evacuation of chronic subdural hematoma: Is it a serious complication? Asian J Neurosurg 2012;7:66-74.  Back to cited text no. 5
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Cappabianca P, Esposito F, Luigi C. Surgical management of chronic subdural hematoma in adults. In: Quinones-Hinlosa A, editor. Schmidek and Sweet Operative Neurosurgical Techniques: Indications, Methods, Results. 6th ed. Philadelphia: Elsevier; 2012. p. 246-56.  Back to cited text no. 6
Greenberg M. Chronic subdural hematoma. In: Greenberg M, editor. Handbook of Neurosurgery. 8th ed. New York: Thieme; 2016. p. 898-901.  Back to cited text no. 7
Májovský M, Netuka D, Beneš V, Kučera P. Burr-hole evacuation of chronic subdural hematoma: Biophysically and evidence based technique improvement. J Neurosci Rural Pract 2018;10:113-8.  Back to cited text no. 8


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