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Andrew T. Hale, Stephen R. Gannon, Shilin Zhao, Michael C. Dewan, Ritwik Bhatia, Michael Bezzerides, Amanda N. Stanton, Robert P. Naftel, Chevis N. Shannon, Sumit Pruthi and John C. Wellons III


The authors aimed to evaluate clinical, radiological, and surgical factors associated with posterior fossa tumor resection (PFTR)–related outcomes, including postoperative complications related to dural augmentation (CSF leak and wound infection), persistent hydrocephalus ultimately requiring permanent CSF diversion after PFTR, and 90-day readmission rate.


Pediatric patients (0–17 years old) undergoing PFTR between 2000 and 2016 at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital of Vanderbilt University were retrospectively reviewed. Descriptive statistics included the Wilcoxon signed-rank test to compare means that were nonnormally distributed and the chi-square test for categorical variables. Variables that were nominally associated (p < 0.05) with each outcome by univariate analysis were included as covariates in multivariate linear regression models. Statistical significance was set a priori at p < 0.05.


The cohort consisted of 186 patients with a median age at surgery of 6.62 years (range 3.37–11.78 years), 55% male, 83% Caucasian, and average length of follow-up of 3.87 ± 0.25 years. By multivariate logistic regression, the variables primary dural closure (PDC; odds ratio [OR] 8.33, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.07–100, p = 0.04), pseudomeningocele (OR 7.43, 95% CI 2.23–23.76, p = 0.0007), and hydrocephalus ultimately requiring permanent CSF diversion within 90 days of PFTR (OR 9.25, 95% CI 2.74–31.2, p = 0.0003) were independently associated with CSF leak. PDC versus graft dural closure (GDC; 35% vs 7%, OR 5.88, 95% CI 2.94–50.0, p = 0.03) and hydrocephalus ultimately requiring permanent CSF diversion (OR 3.30, 95% CI 1.07–10.19, p = 0.0007) were associated with wound infection requiring surgical debridement. By multivariate logistic regression, GDC versus PDC (23% vs 37%, OR 0.13, 95% CI 0.02–0.87, p = 0.04) was associated with persistent hydrocephalus ultimately requiring permanent CSF diversion, whereas pre- or post-PFTR ventricular size, placement of peri- or intraoperative extraventricular drain (EVD), and radiation therapy were not. Furthermore, the addition of perioperative EVD placement and dural closure method to a previously validated predictive model of post-PFTR hydrocephalus improved its performance from area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.69 to 0.74. Lastly, the authors found that autologous (vs synthetic) grafts may be protective against persistent hydrocephalus (p = 0.02), but not CSF leak, pseudomeningocele, or wound infection.


These results suggest that GDC, independent of potential confounding factors, may be protective against CSF leak, wound infection, and hydrocephalus in patients undergoing PFTR. Additional studies are warranted to further evaluate clinical and surgical factors impacting PFTR-associated complications.