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Papers of the Week

2022 Dec




Delayed Postoperative Tension Pneumocephalus Treated With a Subdural Evacuating Port System: A Case Report and Review of the Literature.



Tension pneumocephalus (TP) is a rare neurosurgical emergency due to the rise of intracranial pressure from air in the cranial cavity. Tension pneumocephalus' clinical presentation ranges from headache, visual alterations, altered mental status, and death. Given its nonspecific clinical presentation, tension pneumocephalus is usually diagnosed via computed tomography (CT) imaging. Open burr hole craniotomy is the preferred treatment method for tension pneumocephalus. Subdural evacuating port system (SEPS) drains have, however, seen increased utilization in neurosurgery due to decreased possibilities for infections, reduced seizure probability, and better outcomes post-surgery, especially for elderly patients. In this article, we present the case of a 67-year-old female with postoperative tension pneumocephalus after the evacuation of an acute subdural hematoma. The patient became symptomatic from tension pneumocephalus, which was evacuated using a subdural evacuating port system drain. Post-drain placement, the patient had a radiographic and clinical resolution of her tension pneumocephalus. Thesubdural evacuating port system is a useful adjunctive tool for treating tension pneumocephalus.Given the favorable characteristic profile of subdural evacuating port system drains compared to open surgical modalities, further inquiry should be pursued to analyze the feasibility of establishing subdural evacuating port systems as a less invasive treatment alternative.