Effectiveness of Dural Sealants in Prevention of Cerebrospinal Fluid Leakage After Craniotomy: A Systematic Review

World Neurosurg. 2018 Oct:118:368-376.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2018.06.196. Epub 2018 Jun 30.


Objective: Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leakage is one of the most challenging complications in neurosurgery. We sought to evaluate the efficacy of dural sealants in preventing CSF leakage after cranial surgery.

Methods: A literature search was performed in the PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane databases. The inclusion criteria were defined to include articles describing regular cranial procedures combined with the use of any dural sealant reporting CSF leakage. The primary outcome was CSF leakage (pseudomeningocele formation or incisional CSF leakage), secondary outcomes were pseudomeningocele formation, incisional CSF leakage, and surgical-site infection.

Results: Twenty articles were included. Ten of these were comparative studies (sealant vs. no sealant) including 3 randomized controlled trials. In the 20 articles, a total of 3682 surgical procedures were reported. The number of CSF leakages in general did not differ between the sealant group (8.2%) and control group (8.4%), risk ratio (RR) 0.84 (0.50-1.42), I2 = 56%. Exclusion of non-randomized controlled trials did not alter the results. Meta-analyses for secondary outcomes showed no difference between number of incisional CSF leakage, RR 0.30 (0.05-1.59), I2 = 38%. Also, no difference was found in the pseudomeningocele formation, RR 1.50 (0.43-5.17), I2 = 0%. Surgical-site infection was seen less in the sealant group (1.0%) compared with the control group (5.6%), RR 0.25 (0.13-0.48), I2 = 0%.

Conclusions: This systematic review showed that dural sealants did not reduce the number of CSF leaks in general, the number of incisional CSF leaks alone, or the number of pseudomeningocele formations alone. However, dural sealants reduced the risk of surgical-site infection.

Keywords: Cerebrospinal fluid leakage; Cranial surgery; Dura mater; Dural sealant.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak / etiology
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak / prevention & control*
  • Craniotomy / adverse effects*
  • Craniotomy / trends
  • Dura Mater* / surgery
  • Fibrin Tissue Adhesive / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / adverse effects
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / trends
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / methods
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Fibrin Tissue Adhesive