JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Surgical nuances and placement of subgaleal drains for supratentorial procedures-a prospective analysis of efficacy and outcome in 150 craniotomies.

BACKGROUND: For supratentorial craniotomy, surgical access, and closure technique, including placement of subgaleal drains, may vary considerably. The influence of surgical nuances on postoperative complications such as cerebrospinal fluid leakage or impaired wound healing overall remains largely unclear. With this study, we are reporting our experiences and the impact of our clinical routines on outcome in a prospectively collected data set.

METHOD: We prospectively observed 150 consecutive patients undergoing supratentorial craniotomy and recorded technical variables (type/length of incision, size of craniotomy, technique of dural and skin closure, type of dressing, and placement of subgaleal drains). Outcome variables (subgaleal hematoma/CSF collection, periorbital edema, impairment of wound healing, infection, and need for operative revision) were recorded at time of discharge and at late follow-up.

RESULTS: Early subgaleal fluid collection was observed in 36.7% (2.8% at the late follow-up), and impaired wound healing was recorded in 3.3% of all cases, with an overall need for operative revision of 6.7%. Neither usage of dural sealants, lack of watertight dural closure, and presence of subgaleal drains, nor type of skin closure or dressing influenced outcome. Curved incisions, larger craniotomy, and tumor size, however, were associated with an increase in early CSF or hematoma collection (p < 0.0001, p = 0.001, p < 0.01 resp.), and larger craniotomy size was associated with longer persistence of subgaleal fluid collections (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: Based on our setting, individual surgical nuances such as the type of dural closure and the use of subgaleal drains resulted in a comparable complication rate and outcome. Subgaleal fluid collections were frequently observed after supratentorial procedures, irrespective of the closing technique employed, and resolve spontaneously in the majority of cases without significant sequelae. Our results are limited due to the observational nature in our single-center study and need to be validated by supportive prospective randomized design.

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