Endoscopic strip craniectomy in early infancy: the initial five years of anesthesia experience

Anesth Analg. 2011 Feb;112(2):407-14. doi: 10.1213/ANE.0b013e31820471e4. Epub 2010 Dec 14.


Background: Minimally invasive endoscopic strip craniectomy (ESC) is a relatively new surgical technique for treating craniosynostosis in early infancy. In this study we reviewed our anesthesia experience with ESC. The hypothesis was that infants with low body weight and syndromes would have a higher risk of perioperative blood transfusion and that those with respiratory complications are more likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU).

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed patient charts and anesthesia records of the first 100 consecutive infants who underwent ESC between May 2004 and December 2008 and follow-up evaluations until December 2009. Outcomes included (a) perioperative blood transfusion, (b) venous air embolism (VAE), (c) ICU admission, and (d) reoperation with craniofacial reconstruction procedures. Multivariable logistic regression was used to determine significant factors of patient outcomes.

Results: Infants ranging from 4 to 34 weeks of age (weight: 3.2 to 10.1 kg), presented for 87 single and 13 multiple ESC. Four infants had a craniofacial syndrome. The mean surgical time was 48 minutes (range: 26 to 86 minutes). Ninety-two infants had a median estimated blood loss of 23 mL (interquartile ranges [IQR]: 15 to 30 mL). Eight infants who required blood transfusion received a median amount of 17.2 mL/kg (IQR: 10.1 to 21.2 mL/kg). Body weight ≤5 kg (P = 0.04), sagittal ESC (P < 0.01), syndromic craniosynostosis (P < 0.01), and earlier date of surgery in the series (P < 0.01) were factors associated with blood transfusion. VAE was detected in 2 infants with no changes in clinical outcome. Eight infants were admitted to the ICU. Factors associated with ICU admission were blood transfusion (P < 0.001) and respiratory complications (P < 0.001). Eighty-two infants were discharged on postoperative day 1 (range: 1 to 3 days). Six infants underwent subsequent fronto-orbital advancement and 1 cranial vault reconstruction. Multiple-suture craniosynostosis (P < 0.01), associated syndromes (P = 0.03), and ICU admission after ESC (P = 0.04) were predictive of reoperation.

Conclusions: Twenty percent of infants undergoing ESC had 1 or more of the following: need for blood transfusion, VAE, respiratory complications, and ICU admission. Multivariable analysis confirmed that patients with lower body weight, those with earlier date of surgery in the series, those undergoing sagittal ESC, and those with syndromic craniosynostosis had a higher rate of blood transfusion. ICU admissions often occurred in infants requiring transfusion and those with respiratory complications. Infants with multiple-suture craniosynostosis were more likely to require subsequent craniofacial reconstruction procedures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia, General* / adverse effects
  • Blood Loss, Surgical / prevention & control
  • Blood Transfusion
  • Boston
  • Craniosynostoses / surgery*
  • Craniotomy / adverse effects
  • Craniotomy / methods*
  • Critical Care
  • Embolism, Air / etiology
  • Endoscopy* / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Length of Stay
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Reoperation
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome