The objective of this study was to evaluate and compare the level of patient satisfaction and approach-related patient complaints between a superciliary keyhole approach and a pterional approach.
Patients who underwent an ipsilateral superciliary keyhole approach and a contralateral pterional approach for bilateral intracranial aneurysms during an 11-year period were contacted and asked to complete a patient satisfaction questionnaire. The questionnaire covered 5 complaint areas related to the surgical approaches: craniotomy-related pain, sensory symptoms in the head, cosmetic complaints, palpable cranial irregularities, and limited mouth opening. The patients were asked to rate the 5 complaint areas on a scale from 0 (asymptomatic or very pleasant) to 4 (severely symptomatic or very unpleasant). Finally, the patients were asked to rate the level of overall satisfaction related to each surgical procedure on a visual analog scale (VAS) from 0 (most unsatisfactory) to 100 (most satisfactory).
A total of 21 patients completed the patient satisfaction questionnaire during a follow-up clinic visit. For the superciliary procedures, no craniotomy-related pain, palpable irregularities, or limited mouth opening was reported, and only minor sensory symptoms (numbness in the forehead) and cosmetic complaints (short linear operative scar) were reported (score = 1) by 1 (4.8%) and 3 patients (14.3%), respectively. Compared with the pterional approach, the superciliary approach showed better outcomes regarding the incidence of craniotomy-related pain, cosmetic complaints, and palpable irregularities, with a significant between-approach difference (p < 0.05). Furthermore, the VAS score for patient satisfaction was significantly higher for the superciliary approach (mean 95.2 ± 6.0 [SD], range 80–100) than for the pterional approach (mean 71.4 ± 10.6, range 50–90). Moreover, for the pterional approach, a multiple linear regression analysis indicated that the crucial factors decreasing the level of patient satisfaction were cosmetic complaints, craniotomy-related pain, and sensory symptoms, in order of importance (p < 0.05).
In successful cases in which the primary surgical goal of complete aneurysm clipping without postoperative complications is achieved, a superciliary keyhole approach provides a much higher level of patient satisfaction than a pterional approach, despite a facial wound. For a pterional approach, the patient satisfaction level is affected by the cosmetic results, craniotomy-related pain, and numbness behind the hairline, in order of importance.