Background: In order to weigh the risks of surgery against the presumed advantages, it is important to have specific knowledge about complication rates.
Objective: To study the surgical mortality and rate of reoperations for hematomas and infections after intracranial surgery for brain tumors in a large, contemporary, single-institution consecutive series.
Methods: All adult patients from a well-defined population of 2.7 million inhabitants who underwent craniotomies for intracranial tumors at Oslo University Hospital from 2003 to 2008 were included (n = 2630). The patients were identified from our prospectively collected database and their charts studied retrospectively. Follow-up was 100%.
Results: The overall surgical mortality, defined as death within 30 days of surgery, was 2.3% (n = 60). The mortality rates for high- and low-grade gliomas, meningiomas, and metastases were 2.9%, 1.0%, 0.9%, and 4.5%, respectively. Age >60 (odds ratio 1.84, P < 0.05) and biopsy compared with resection (odds ratio 4.67, P < 0.01) were significantly positively associated with increased surgical mortality. Hematomas accounted for 35% of the surgical mortality. Postoperative hematomas needing evacuation occurred in 2.1% (n = 54). Age >60 was significantly correlated to increased risk of postoperative hematomas (odds ratio 2.43, P < 0.001). A total of 39 patients (1.5%) were reoperated for postoperative infection. Meningiomas had an increased risk of infections compared with high-grade gliomas (odds ratio 4.61, P < 0.001).
Conclusion: The surgical mortality within 30 days of surgery was 2.3%, with age >60 and biopsy vs resection being the 2 factors significantly associated with increased mortality. Postoperative hematomas caused about one third of the surgical mortality.