AbstractCranioplasty is commonly performed to treat craniosynostosis. A rare postsurgical complication is massive brain swelling with elevated intracranial pressure. This commonly presents with mydriasis, coma, and seizures; radiologic findings include cerebral edema, parenchymal hemorrhages, and ischemic changes.The authors describe a 9-year-old boy who developed massive brain swelling following reduction cranioplasty for secondary turricephaly. His history included surgical repair of metopic-craniosynostosis at age 5.5 months, by means of an anterior cranial-vault reconstruction with fronto-orbital advancement. After presenting to our clinic with a significant turricephalic skull deformity, he underwent cranial reduction cranioplasty. On postoperative day 1, mild neurological signs associated to increased intracranial pressure were noticed. As they worsened and massive brain swelling was identified, he was treated pharmacologically. On postoperative day 13, the patient was operated for decompression.A literature review yielded 4 articles related to massive brain swelling for post-traumatic craniectomies. None described elevated intracranial pressure or massive brain swelling following cranial reduction for secondary craniosynostosis. The main dilemma regarding our patient was the necessity and timing of a second operation.The literature did not reveal relevant recommendations regarding treatment timing nor preventative measures.The authors recommend presurgical neuro-ophthalmological and imaging evaluation, for comparisons and management during the immediate and short-term follow-ups. The authors suggest that for a patient presenting with signs and symptoms of cerebral edema or high intracranial pressure following reduction-cranioplasty, pharmacological treatment should be initiated promptly, and careful drainage and eventual surgical-treatment should be considered if no improvement is shown in the subsequent days.
- Brain edema
- elevated intracranial pressure
- massive brain swelling