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Middle meningeal artery embolization for treatment of chronic subdural hematomas: does selection of embolized branches affect outcomes?

Journal of Neurosurgery 2022 November 12
OBJECTIVE: Middle meningeal artery (MMA) embolization (MMAE) is a new therapeutic modality for chronic subdural hematoma (cSDH). There is limited evidence comparing various MMAE procedural techniques, resulting in significant variations in technique and procedural planning. The objective of this study was to compare outcomes of MMAE by the number and location of MMA branches that were embolized.

METHODS: A single-center retrospective study of patients with cSDH treated by MMAE was conducted. Clinical outcomes, need for re-intervention, and changes in hematoma size were compared between different MMAE techniques.

RESULTS: Ninety-four cSDHs in 78 patients were included. Embolization of the proximal trunk only, distal branches only, or proximal trunk plus distal branches resulted in similar rates of need for rescue surgery (7.4%, 13.0%, and 6.8%, respectively; p = 0.66) and rates of reducing the volume of the hematoma by at least 50% (74.1%, 80.0%, and 77.5%, respectively; p = 0.88). Embolization of only one branch had similar outcomes to embolization of more than one branch, as rescue surgery rates were 9.3% and 7.8% (p = 0.80), and rates ≥ 50% volume reduction were 75.6% and 78.3% (p = 0.76), respectively. Selective embolization of the dominant MMA branch was not associated with significantly different outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS: Outcomes of distal, proximal, or combined proximal and distal MMAE in cSDH are not significantly different. Embolization of more than one branch is not associated with improved treatment efficacy. Arguably, targeting any location in the MMA provides sufficient flow restriction to enable spontaneous hematoma resolution. Accordingly, a technical planning algorithm for cSDH MMAE is suggested.

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