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S. Hassan A. Akbari, Alexander T. Yahanda, Laurie L. Ackerman, P. David Adelson, Raheel Ahmed, Gregory W. Albert, Philipp R. Aldana, Tord D. Alden, Richard C. E. Anderson, David F. Bauer, Tammy Bethel-Anderson, Karin Bierbrauer, Douglas L. Brockmeyer, Joshua J. Chern, Daniel E. Couture, David J. Daniels, Brian J. Dlouhy, Susan R. Durham, Richard G. Ellenbogen, Ramin Eskandari, Herbert E. Fuchs, Gerald A. Grant, Patrick C. Graupman, Stephanie Greene, Jeffrey P. Greenfield, Naina L. Gross, Daniel J. Guillaume, Todd C. Hankinson, Gregory G. Heuer, Mark Iantosca, Bermans J. Iskandar, Eric M. Jackson, George I. Jallo, James M. Johnston, Bruce A. Kaufman, Robert F. Keating, Nicklaus R. Khan, Mark D. Krieger, Jeffrey R. Leonard, Cormac O. Maher, Francesco T. Mangano, J. Gordon McComb, Sean D. McEvoy, Thanda Meehan, Arnold H. Menezes, Michael S. Muhlbauer, Brent R. O’Neill, Greg Olavarria, John Ragheb, Nathan R. Selden, Manish N. Shah, Chevis N. Shannon, Joshua S. Shimony, Matthew D. Smyth, Scellig S. D. Stone, Jennifer M. Strahle, Mandeep S. Tamber, James C. Torner, Gerald F. Tuite, Elizabeth C. Tyler-Kabara, Scott D. Wait, John C. Wellons III, William E. Whitehead, Tae Sung Park, and David D. Limbrick Jr.


The aim of this study was to determine differences in complications and outcomes between posterior fossa decompression with duraplasty (PFDD) and without duraplasty (PFD) for the treatment of pediatric Chiari malformation type I (CM1) and syringomyelia (SM).


The authors used retrospective and prospective components of the Park-Reeves Syringomyelia Research Consortium database to identify pediatric patients with CM1-SM who received PFD or PFDD and had at least 1 year of follow-up data. Preoperative, treatment, and postoperative characteristics were recorded and compared between groups.


A total of 692 patients met the inclusion criteria for this database study. PFD was performed in 117 (16.9%) and PFDD in 575 (83.1%) patients. The mean age at surgery was 9.86 years, and the mean follow-up time was 2.73 years. There were no significant differences in presenting signs or symptoms between groups, although the preoperative syrinx size was smaller in the PFD group. The PFD group had a shorter mean operating room time (p < 0.0001), fewer patients with > 50 mL of blood loss (p = 0.04), and shorter hospital stays (p = 0.0001). There were 4 intraoperative complications, all within the PFDD group (0.7%, p > 0.99). Patients undergoing PFDD had a 6-month complication rate of 24.3%, compared with 13.7% in the PFD group (p = 0.01). There were no differences between groups for postoperative complications beyond 6 months (p = 0.33). PFD patients were more likely to require revision surgery (17.9% vs 8.3%, p = 0.002). PFDD was associated with greater improvements in headaches (89.6% vs 80.8%, p = 0.04) and back pain (86.5% vs 59.1%, p = 0.01). There were no differences between groups for improvement in neurological examination findings. PFDD was associated with greater reduction in anteroposterior syrinx size (43.7% vs 26.9%, p = 0.0001) and syrinx length (18.9% vs 5.6%, p = 0.04) compared with PFD.


PFD was associated with reduced operative time and blood loss, shorter hospital stays, and fewer postoperative complications within 6 months. However, PFDD was associated with better symptom improvement and reduction in syrinx size and lower rates of revision decompression. The two surgeries have low intraoperative complication rates and comparable complication rates beyond 6 months.