Surgery for Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I) is one of the most common neurosurgical procedures performed in children, although there is clearly no consensus among practitioners about which surgical method is preferred. The objective of this meta-analysis was to compare the outcome of posterior fossa decompression with duraplasty (PFDD) and posterior fossa decompression without duraplasty (PFD) for the treatment of CM-I in children.
The authors searched Medline–Ovid, The Cochrane Library, and the conference proceedings of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (2000–2007) for studies meeting the following inclusion criteria: 1) surgical treatment of CM-I; 2) surgical techniques of PFD and PFDD being reported in a single cohort; and 3) patient age < 18 years.
Five retrospective and 2 prospective cohort studies involving a total of 582 patients met the criteria for inclusion in the meta-analysis. Of the 582 patients, 316 were treated with PFDD and 266 were treated with PFD alone. Patient age ranged from 6 months to 18 years. Patients undergoing PFDD had a significantly lower reoperation rate (2.1 vs 12.6%, risk ratio [RR] 0.23, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.08–0.69) and a higher rate of cerebrospinal fluid–related complications (18.5 vs 1.8%, RR 7.64, 95% CI 2.53–23.09) than those undergoing PFD. No significant differences in either clinical improvement (78.6 vs 64.6%, RR 1.23, 95% CI 0.95–1.59) or syringomyelia decrease (87.0 vs 56.3%, RR 1.43, 95% CI 0.91–2.25) were noted between PFDD and PFD.
Posterior fossa decompression with duraplasty is associated with a lower risk of reoperation than PFD but a greater risk for cerebrospinal fluid–related complications. There was no significant difference between the 2 operative techniques with respect to clinical improvement or decrease in syringomyelia.