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Justin Schwarz, Joseph A. Carnevale, Jacob L. Goldberg, Alexander D. Ramos, Thomas W. Link, and Jared Knopman


Chronic subdural hematoma (cSDH) is a common and challenging pathology to treat due to both the historically high recurrence rate following surgical evacuation and the medical comorbidities inherent in the aging patient population that it primarily affects. Middle meningeal artery (MMA) embolization has shown promise in the treatment of cSDHs, most convincingly to avoid surgical evacuation in relatively asymptomatic patients. Symptomatic patients requiring surgical evacuation may also benefit from perioperative MMA embolization to prevent cSDH recurrence. The goal of this study was to determine the utility of perioperative MMA embolization for symptomatic cSDH requiring surgical evacuation and to assess if there is a decrease in the cSDH recurrence rate compared to historical recurrence rates following surgical evacuation alone.


Symptomatic cSDHs were evacuated using a subdural evacuating port system (SEPS) with 5-mm twist-drill craniostomy in an intensive care unit or by performing a craniotomy in the operating room, using either a small (silver dollar, < 4 cm) or large (≥ 4 cm) craniotomy. MMA embolization was performed perioperatively using angiography, selective catheterization of the MMA, and infusion of polyvinyl particles. Outcomes were assessed clinically and radiographically with interval head CT imaging.


There were 44 symptomatic cSDHs in 41 patients, with 3 patients presenting with bilateral symptomatic cSDH. All cSDHs were evacuated using an SEPS (n = 18), a silver-dollar craniotomy (n = 16), or a large craniotomy (n = 10). Prophylactic MMA embolization was performed successfully in all cSDHs soon after surgical evacuation. There were no deaths and no procedural complications. There was an overall reduction of greater than 50% or resolution of cSDH in 40/44 (90.9%) cases, regardless of the evacuation procedure used. Of the 44 prophylactic cases, there were 2 (4.5%) cases of cSDH recurrence that required repeat surgical evacuation at the 1-year follow-up. These 2 cSDHs were initially evacuated using an SEPS and subsequently required a craniotomy, thereby representing an overall 4.5% recurrence rate of treated cSDH requiring repeat evacuation. Most notably, of the 26 patients who underwent surgical evacuation with a craniotomy followed by MMA embolization, none had cSDH recurrence requiring repeat intervention.


Perioperative prophylactic MMA embolization in the setting of surgical evacuation, via either craniotomy or SEPS, may help to lower the recurrence rate of cSDH.