Bifrontal decompressive craniectomy in the management of posttraumatic intracranial hypertension

Br J Neurosurg. 2001 Dec;15(6):500-7. doi: 10.1080/02688690120105110.


Bifrontal decompressive craniectomy has been used on an ad hoc basis for the treatment of post-traumatic intracranial hypertension for more than thirty years. In this observational study we report the clinical outcome and physiological effects of the procedure in a series of 26 patients with refractory intracranial hypertension treated on a protocol driven basis. Bifrontal decompressive craniectomy was associated with significant reductions in mean ICP from 37.5 to 18.1 mmHg (p = 0.003). In addition, craniectomy reduced the amplitude of ICP waves (p < 0.02) and increased compensatory reserve (p < 0.05). A favourable outcome was achieved in 69% of patients; 8% were severely disabled and 23% died. We conclude that this study provides pathophysiological evidence that bifrontal decompressive craniectomy significantly reduces posttraumatic intracranial hypertension and improves pressure dynamics. Our results support the continued use of bifrontal decompressive craniectomy in selected patients after head injury.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Brain Injuries / complications*
  • Brain Injuries / diagnostic imaging
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Craniotomy / methods*
  • Decompression, Surgical / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Hypertension / diagnostic imaging
  • Intracranial Hypertension / etiology
  • Intracranial Hypertension / surgery*
  • Intracranial Pressure
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Selection
  • Prospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed