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Pravin Salunke, Ravi Garg, Ankur Kapoor, Rajesh Chhabra, and Kanchan K. Mukherjee


Contralateral subdural hygromas are occasionally observed after decompressive craniectomies (DCs). Some of these hygromas are symptomatic, and the etiology and management of these symptomatic contralateral subdural collections (CLDCs) present surgical challenges. The authors share their experience with managing symptomatic CLSDCs after a DC.


During a 10-month period, 306 patients underwent a DC. Of these patients, 266 had a head injury, 25 a middle cerebral artery infarction (that is, a thrombotic stroke), and 15 an infarction due to a vasospasm (resulting from an aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage [SAH]). Seventeen patients (15 with a head injury and 2 with an SAH) developed a CLSDC, and 7 of these patients showed overt symptoms of the fluid collection. These patients were treated with a trial intervention consisting of bur hole drainage followed by cranioplasty. If required, a ventriculo- or thecoperitoneal shunt was inserted at a later time.


Seven patients developed a symptomatic CLSDC after a DC, 6 of whom had a head injury and 1 had an SAH. The average length of time between the DC and CLSDC formation was 24 days. Fluid drainage via a bur hole was attempted in the first 5 patients. However, symptoms in these patients improved only temporarily. All 7 patients (including the 5 in whom the bur hole drainage had failed and 2 directly after the DC) underwent a cranioplasty, and the CLSDC resolved in all of these patients. The average time it took for the CLSDC to resolve after the cranioplasty was 34 days. Three patients developed hydrocephalus after the cranioplasty, requiring a diversion procedure, and 1 patient contracted meningitis and died.


Arachnoid tears and blockage of arachnoid villi appear to be the underlying causes of a CLSDC. The absence of sufficient fluid pressure required for CSF absorption after a DC further aggravates such fluid collections. Underlying hydrocephalus may appear as subdural collections in some patients after the DC. Bur hole drainage appears to be only a temporary measure and leads to recurrence of a CLSDC. Therefore, cranioplasty is the definitive treatment for such collections and, if performed early, may even avert CLSDC formation. A temporary ventriculostomy or an external lumbar drainage may be added to aid the cranioplasty and may be removed postoperatively. Ventriculoperitoneal or thecoperitoneal shunting may be required for patients in whom a hydrocephalus manifests after cranioplasty and underlies the CLSDC.

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Vijendra K. Jain, Piyush Mittal, Deepu Banerji, Sanjay Behari, Rajesh Acharya, and Devendra K. Chhabra

✓ Between 1989 and 1994, 50 patients suffering from congenital atlantoaxial dislocation with either an assimilated atlas or a thin or deficient posterior arch of the atlas were treated with occipitocervical fusion using the technique described by Jain and colleagues in 1993 with a few modifications. An artificial bridge created from the occipital bone along the margin of the foramen magnum was fused to the axis using sublaminar wiring and interposed strut and lateral onlay bone grafts. Ten patients (20%) also underwent atlantoaxial lateral joint fusion by intraarticular instillation of bone chips. In 22 patients (44%) with irreducible dislocation, posterior fusion was preceded by transoral odontoidectomy. In seven patients (14%) with ventral compression, who showed marked clinical improvement on traction despite radiological evidence of persisting atlantoaxial dislocation, occipitocervical fusion was performed without ventral decompression. Seven patients (14%) underwent a single-stage transoral odontoidectomy and posterior fusion. There was no perioperative mortality and the osseous fusion rate was 88%. Of the 43 patients available at follow-up examination (range 3–12 months), 31 patients (72.09%) improved, seven (16.28%) remained the same, and five (11.6%) deteriorated in comparison with their preoperative status. Hence, this technique achieves a stable occipitocervical arthrodesis without supplemental external orthoses and facilitates early postoperative mobilization.

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Sushanta K. Sahoo, Sivashanmugam Dhandapani, Apinderpreet Singh, Chandrashekhar Gendle, Madhivanan Karthigeyan, Pravin Salunke, Ashish Aggarwal, Navneet Singla, Raghav Singla, Manjul Tripathi, Rajesh Chhabra, Sandeep Mohindra, Manoj Kumar Tewari, Manju Mohanty, Hemant Bhagat, Arunaloke Chakrabarti, and Sunil Kumar Gupta


COVID-19 has affected surgical practice globally. Treating neurosurgical patients with the restrictions imposed by the pandemic is challenging in institutions with shared patient areas. The present study was performed to assess the changing patterns of neurosurgical cases, the efficacy of repeated testing before surgery, and the prevalence of COVID-19 in asymptomatic neurosurgical inpatients.


Cases of non–trauma-related neurosurgical patients treated at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) before and during the COVID-19 pandemic were reviewed. During the pandemic, all patients underwent a nasopharyngeal swab reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction test to detect COVID-19 at admission. Patients who needed immediate intervention were surgically treated following a single COVID-19 test, while stable patients who initially tested negative for COVID-19 were subjected to repeated testing at least 5 days after the first test and within 48 hours prior to the planned surgery. The COVID-19 positivity rate was compared with the local period prevalence. The number of patients who tested positive at the second test, following a negative first test, was used to determine the probable number of people who could have become infected during the surgical procedure without second testing.


Of the total 1769 non–trauma-related neurosurgical patients included in this study, a mean of 337.2 patients underwent surgery per month before COVID-19, while a mean of 184.2 patients (54.6% of pre–COVID-19 capacity) underwent surgery per month during the pandemic period, when COVID-19 cases were on the rise in India. There was a significant increase in the proportion of patients undergoing surgery for a ruptured aneurysm, stroke, hydrocephalus, and cerebellar tumors, while the number of patients seeking surgery for chronic benign diseases declined. At the first COVID-19 test, 4 patients (0.48%) tested were found to have the disease, a proportion 3.7 times greater than that found in the local community. An additional 5 patients tested positive at the time of the second COVID-19 test, resulting in an overall inpatient period prevalence of 1%, in contrast to a 0.2% national cumulative caseload. It is possible that COVID-19 was prevented in approximately 67.4 people every month by using double testing.


COVID-19 has changed the pattern of neurosurgical procedures, with acute cases dominating the practice. Despite the fact that the pandemic has not yet reached its peak in India, COVID-19 has been detected 3.7 times more often in asymptomatic neurosurgical inpatients than in the local community, even with single testing. Double testing displays an incremental value by disclosing COVID-19 overall in 1 in 100 inpatients and thus averting its spread through neurosurgical services.