CSF leaks are common complications of spinal and cranial surgeries. Several dural grafts and suture techniques are available to achieve watertight dural closure, but the effectiveness of these techniques remains unclear. The authors developed a standardized in vitro model to test available grafts and suture techniques alone or in combination to find the technique with the most watertight dural closure.
A fluid chamber with a dural fixation device, infusion pump, pressure gauge, and porcine pericardium as a dural equivalent was assembled to provide the reusable device for testing. The authors performed dural closure in 4 different fashions, as follows: A) using running versus simple interrupted suture technique and different suture materials to close a 3-cm incision; B) selecting commonly used sealants and dural patches in combination with a running suture; C) performing duraplasty (1.5 × 1.5–cm square defect) with different dural substitutes in a stand-alone fashion; and D) performing duraplasty with different dural substitutes in a double-layer fashion. Each technique was tested 6 times. The hydrostatic burst pressure (BP) was measured and compared using the Kruskal-Wallis test or the Mann-Whitney U-test. Values are reported as mean ± SD.
There was no significant difference between the running and simple interrupted suture technique (p = 0.79). Adding a patch or sealant to a suture resulted in a 1.7- to 14-fold higher BP compared to solitary suture closure (36.2 ± 24.27 cm H2O and 4.58 ± 1.41 cm H2O, respectively; p < 0.001). The highest BP was achieved by adding DuraSeal or TachoSil (82.33 ± 12.72 cm H2O and 74.17 ± 12.64 cm H2O, respectively). For closing a square defect, using a double-layer duraplasty significantly increased BP by a factor of 4–12 compared to a single-layer duraplasty (31.71 ± 12.62 cm H2O vs 4.19 ± 0.88 cm H2O, respectively; p < 0.001). The highest BP was achieved with the combination of Lyomesh and TachoSil (43.67 ± 11.45 cm H2O).
A standardized in vitro model helps to objectify the watertightness of dural closure. It allows testing of sutures and dural grafts alone or in combination. In the authors’ testing, a running 6-0 monofilament polypropylene suture combined with DuraSeal or TachoSil was the technique achieving the highest BP. For the duraplasty of square defects, the double-layer technique showed the highest efficacy.