Missile injuries to the brain treated by simple wound closure: results of a protocol during the Lebanese conflict

Neurosurgery. 1991 Sep;29(3):380-3; discussion 384.


This is a prospective study of the treatment of penetrating missile injuries to the brain without intracranial surgery carried out at the American University of Beirut Medical Center between 1981 and 1988. Of 600 patients treated for missile injuries to the head, 32 satisfied the study criteria. There were 27 shrapnel and 5 bullet injuries. The mean patient age was 23 years (range, 3-51 years). Twenty patients had intracranial indriven bone fragments. Six patients had exposed brain tissue. The mean follow-up was 3.5 years (range, 1-7.5 years). The superficial entry wound was debrided and closed without drainage in the Emergency Room within a mean of 3 hours (range, 0.5-6 hours), and the patient received methicillin for 14 days. All patients survived and had no or improved neurological deficits. No leakage of the cerebrospinal fluid, infection, or seizures occurred in 31 patients. One patient with indriven bone fragments had leakage of the cerebrospinal fluid and developed seizures and a brain abscess 20 days after the injury. The management of penetrating missile injuries to the brain without intracranial surgery in a select patient population is a reasonable option. This treatment becomes important for a surgeon facing large numbers of casualties, or when operative personnel or resources are limited or unavailable.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain Injuries / complications
  • Brain Injuries / surgery*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Cohort Studies
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Debridement
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lebanon
  • Male
  • Methicillin / therapeutic use
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Warfare
  • Wounds, Penetrating / complications
  • Wounds, Penetrating / surgery*


  • Methicillin