Cranioplasty is a relatively simple and less invasive intervention, but it is associated with a high incidence of postoperative seizures. The incidence of, and the risk factors for, such seizures and the effect of prophylactic antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) have not been well studied. The authors’ aim was to evaluate the risk factors that predispose patients to postcranioplasty seizures and to examine the role of seizure prophylaxis in cranioplasty.
The records of patients who had undergone cranioplasty at the authors’ medical center between 2009 and 2014 with at last 2 years of follow-up were retrospectively reviewed. Demographic and clinical characteristics, the occurrence of postoperative seizures, and postoperative complications were analyzed.
Among the 583 patients eligible for inclusion in the study, 247 had preexisting seizures or used AEDs before the cranioplasty and 336 had no seizures prior to cranioplasty. Of these 336 patients, 89 (26.5%) had new-onset seizures following cranioplasty. Prophylactic AEDs were administered to 56 patients for 1 week after cranioplasty. No early seizures occurred in these patients, and this finding was statistically significant (p = 0.012). Liver cirrhosis, intraoperative blood loss, and shunt-dependent hydrocephalus were risk factors for postcranioplasty seizures in the multivariable analysis.
Cranioplasty is associated with a high incidence of postoperative seizures. The prophylactic use of AEDs can reduce the occurrence of early seizures.