Posterior vault distraction osteogenesis (PVDO) is an effective tool to increase intracranial volume and expand the posterior cranial fossa. During PVDO, the authors extended osteotomy posterior to the foramen magnum to fully expand the posterior cranial fossa. The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy of complete PVDO in posterior fossa expansion and treatment of Chiari malformation type I (CM-I) in patients with craniosynostosis.
Patients with craniosynostosis who had undergone complete PVDO between January 2012 and May 2020 were reviewed retrospectively. A coronal osteotomy extending to the foramen magnum was performed and the foramen magnum was decompressed by removing its posterior rim with a 1-mm Kerrison rongeur. Four distractor devices were placed and the vector of distraction was controlled from the posterior to the inferior-posterior direction, depending on the deformity. Changes in the intracranial volume, posterior cranial fossa area, and cerebellar tonsillar descent were measured after complete PVDO by using CT and MRI.
A total of 11 patients with craniosynostosis and concurrent CM-I were included in the study. The mean age was 34.6 ± 24.0 months (continuous variables are expressed as the mean ± SD throughout). One patient had sleep apnea, which was consistent with CM-I, and another patient had a headache, which was nonspecific. The intracranial volume increased from 1179.6 ± 180.2 cm3 to 1440.6 ± 251.5 cm3 (p = 0.003; 24.5% increase compared to the preoperative volume). The posterior skull base area increased from 44.9 ± 19.3 cm2 to 72.7 ± 18.1 cm2 (p = 0.004). Cerebellar tonsillar descent decreased in all 11 patients after complete PVDO (preoperative: 10.8 ± 3.7 mm, postoperative: 2.7 ± 3.0 mm; p = 0.003). Among the 11 patients, 5 showed complete resolution of cerebellar tonsillar herniation.
Complete PVDO can more efficiently expand the posterior cranial fossa, unlike conventional methods. Moreover, it helps to relieve cerebellar tonsillar herniation. Complete PVDO is a powerful tool to increase the intracranial and posterior fossa volumes in patients with craniosynostosis and concurrent CM-I.