Bilateral hemicraniectomy in non-penetrating traumatic brain injury

Brian P. Walcott, Brian V. Nahed, Sameer A. Sheth, Vijay Yanamadala, James R. Caracci, Wael F. Asaad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Traumatic brain injury is a heterogeneous entity that encompasses both surgical and non-surgical conditions. Surgery may be indicated with traumatic lesions such as hemorrhage, fractures, or malignant cerebral edema. However, the neurological exam may be clouded by the effects of medications administered in the field, systemic injuries, and inaccuracies in hyperacute prognostication. Typically, neurological injury is considered irreversible if diffuse loss of grey/white matter differentiation or if brainstem hemorrhage (Duret hemorrhage) exists. We aim to characterize a cohort of patients undergoing bilateral hemicraniectomy for severe traumatic brain injury. A retrospective consecutive cohort of adult patients undergoing craniectomy for trauma was established between the dates of January 2008 and November 2011. The primary outcome of the study was in-hospital mortality. Secondary outcomes were ICU length of stay, surgical complications, and Glasgow Outcome Score at most recent follow-up. During the study period, 210 patients undergoing craniectomy for traumatic mass-occupying lesion (epidural hematoma, subdural hematoma, or parenchymal contusion) were analyzed. Of those, 9 met study criteria. In-hospital mortality was 67% (6 of 9 patients). The average ICU length of stay was 12 days. The GOS score was 3 in surviving patients. Bilateral hemicraniectomy is a heroic intervention for patients with severe TBI, but can be a life-saving procedure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1879-1885
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurotrauma
Issue number10
StatePublished - Jul 1 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • bilateral
  • brain injury
  • craniectomy
  • intensive care unit
  • trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

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