Lower complication rates for cranioplasty with peri-operative bundle

Catherine Le, Kern H. Guppy, Yekaterina V. Axelrod, Mark W. Hawk, James Silverthorn, Maria C. Inacio, Paul T. Akins

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30 Citations (Scopus)


AbstractBackground The overall benefits of craniectomy must include procedural risks from cranioplasty. Cranioplasty carries a high risk of surgical site infections (SSI) particularly with antibiotic resistant bacteria. The goal of this study was to measure the effect of a cranioplasty bundle on peri-operative complications. Methods The authors queried a prospective, inpatient neurosurgery database at Kaiser Sacramento Medical Center for craniectomy and cranioplasty over a 7 year period. 57 patients who underwent cranioplasties were identified. A retrospective chart review was completed for complications, including surgical complications such as SSI, wound dehiscence, and re-do cranioplasty. We measured cranioplasty complication rates before and after implementation of a peri-operative bundle, which consisted of peri-operative vancomycin (4 doses), a barrier dressing through post-operative day (POD) 3, and de-colonization of the surgical incision using topical chlorhexidine from POD 4 to 7. Results The rate of MRSA colonization in cranioplasty patients is three times higher than the average seen on ICU admission screening (19% vs. 6%). The cranioplasty surgical complication rate was 22.8% and SSI rate was 10.5%. The concurrent SSI rate for craniectomy was 1.9%. Organisms isolated were methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (4), methicillin-sensitive S. aureus (1), Propionibacterium acnes (1), and Escherichia coli (1). Factors associated with SSI were peri-operative vancomycin (68.6% vs. 16.7%, p = 0.0217). Complication rates without (n = 21) and with (n = 36) the bundle were: SSI (23.8% vs. 2.8%, p = 0.0217) and redo cranioplasty (19% vs. 0%, p = 0.0152). Bundle use did not affect rates for superficial wound dehiscence, seizures, or hydrocephalus. Conclusions The cranioplasty bundle was associated with reduced SSI rates and the need for re-do cranioplasties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-44
JournalClinical Neurology and Neurosurgery
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 2014


  • Care bundles
  • Craniectomy
  • Cranioplasty
  • MRSA infection
  • Surgical site infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery
  • Medicine(all)

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