Background: Chronic subdural hematoma (CSDH) remains a neurosurgical condition with high recurrence rate after surgical treatment. The primary pathological mechanism is considered to be repeated microbleedings from fragile neo-vessels within the outer hematoma membrane. The neo-vessels are supplied from peripheral branches of the middle meningeal artery, and embolization of MMA (eMMA) has been performed to prevent re-bleeding episodes and thereby CSDH recurrence.
Objective: To evaluate the published evidence for the effect of eMMA in patients with recurrent CSDH. Secondarily, to investigate the effect of eMMA as an alternative to surgery for primary treatment of CSDH.
Method: A systematic review of the literature on eMMA in patients with recurrent CSDH was conducted. PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane databases were reviewed using the search terms: Embolization, Medial Meningeal Artery, Chronic Subdural Haematoma, and Recurrence. Furthermore, the following mesh terms were used: Chronic Subdural Haematoma AND embolization AND medial meningeal artery AND recurrence. Eighteen papers were found and included. No papers were excluded. The number of patients with primary CSDH and the number of patients with recurrent CSDH treated with eMMA were listed. Furthermore, the number of recurrences in both categories was registered.
Results: Eighteen papers with a total of 191 included patients diagnosed with CSDH treated with eMMA for primary and recurrent CSDH were identified. Recurrence rate for patients treated with eMMA for recurrent CSDH was found to be 2.4%, 95% CI (0.5%; 11.0%), whereas the recurrence rate for patients treated with eMMA for primary CSDH was 4.1%, 95% CI (1.4%; 11.4%).
Conclusion: eMMA is a minimally invasive procedure for treatment of CSDH. Although this study is limited by publication bias, it seems that this procedure may reduce recurrence rates compared with burr hole craniostomy for both primary and recurrent hematomas. A controlled study is warranted.
Keywords: Burr hole; Chronic subdural hematoma; Craniotomy; Embolization; Medial meningeal artery; Meta-analysis; Recurrence rate.