This study compares dural hitching to surgicel and tisseel overlay graft following craniocervical decompression and C1 laminectomy with simple durotomy for Chiari I malformation. Outcome measures were syrinx decompression, headache resolution and complication rates.
A retrospective analysis of case notes was conducted. Patients who had undergone craniocervical decompression (CCD) were grouped by method of dural closure. Outcomes compared were rates of syrinx decompression, headache resolution, and post-operative complications. Statistical analysis was conducted using SPSS v20.
We identified 32 adult patients for inclusion in this study. 53.1% (n = 17) had asyrinx, and 78.1% (n = 25) had a pre-operative headache. All were treated with suboccipital craniectomy, C1 laminectomy (with or without C2 laminectomy), and durotomy. The dura was either left open by dural hitching (n = 23) or closed with surgicel and tisseel overlay graft (n = 9). We found a statistically significant association between the method of dural closure and the rate of syrinx resolution. Resolution occurred in 91.7% (n = 11) of the hitching group, compared to 20.0% (n = 1) of the overlay graft group: Χ2(1) = 5.6, p = .018. There were no statistically significant differences between the two groups in the rates of headache resolution or other complications.
In patients with symptomatic Chiari I malformation and associated syringomyelia, syrinx resolution is more likely if the dura is hitched open rather than closed bysurgicel and tisseel overlay graft after durotomy.