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Alexander T Yahanda, Laura E Simon, and David D. Limbrick Jr.


Posterior fossa decompression with duraplasty (PFDD) is often used for Chiari malformation type I (CM-I), but outcomes associated with different dural graft materials are not well characterized. In this meta-analysis, the authors examined complication rates and outcomes after PFDD for CM-I for autografts and four types of nonautologous grafts.


A literature search of numerous electronic databases (Ovid Medline, Embase, Scopus, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects, Health Technology Assessment Database, NHS Economic Evaluation Database, and was performed to identify articles detailing complications for dural graft materials after PFDD. Whenever available, data were also extracted regarding the need for revision surgery, symptom changes after PFDD, and syrinx size changes after PFDD. All searches were compliant with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA), Institute of Medicine, Standards for Systematic Reviews, Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions, and Peer Review of Electronic Search Strategies guidelines. There were no exclusion criteria based on patient age or presence or absence of syringomyelia.


The current evidence surrounding outcomes for various dural graft materials was found to be of low or very low quality. Twenty-seven studies were included, encompassing 1461 patients. Five types of dural graft materials were included: autograft (n = 404, 27.6%), synthetic (n = 272, 18.6%), bovine pericardium (n = 181, 12.4%), collagen-based (n = 397, 27.2%), and allograft (n = 207, 14.2%). Autograft was associated with a significantly lower rate of pseudomeningocele compared to collagen-based grafts, allografts, and nonautologous grafts in aggregate. Autograft was also associated with the lowest rates of aseptic meningitis, infectious meningitis, and need for revision PFDD, though these associations did not reach statistical significance. No other graft comparisons yielded significant results. Autograft and nonautologous graft materials yielded similar rates of revision surgery and produced similar improvements in postoperative symptoms and syrinx size.


Autograft was the dural graft material that most frequently had the lowest rate of complications and was associated with significantly lower rates of pseudomeningocele compared to collagen-based graft, allograft, and nonautologous graft materials. Autografts and nonautologous grafts yielded similar outcomes for revision surgery, symptoms, and syrinx size. Large prospective studies comparing different graft materials are needed to accurately and precisely characterize outcomes for individual graft types.