Radiology Subspecialties | Neuro

Sinclair AG, Scoffings DJ
Imaging plays an essential role in the evaluation of patients after cranial surgery. It is important to be familiar with the normal anatomy of the cranium; the indications for different surgical techniques such as burr holes, craniotomy, craniectomy, and cranioplasty; their normal postoperative appearances; and complications such as tension pneumocephalus, infection, abscess, empyema, hemorrhage, hematoma, herniation, hygroma, and trephine syndrome. Postoperative infection and hemorrhage are common to all neurosurgical procedures, where-as other complications are peculiar to certain procedures (eg, drill "plunging" during burr hole creation and sinking skin flap after craniec-tomy). Recognizing life-threatening complications such as tension pneumocephalus and paradoxical herniation, which require urgent intervention, is important for a better clinical outcome. Computed tomography is fast, cost effective, and easily accessible for first-line imaging. Magnetic resonance imaging has higher sensitivity for detecting postoperative infection and ischemia, but diffusion-weighted imaging may be less reliable for detecting postoperative infections.

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Sinclair AG, Scoffings DJ. Imaging of the post-operative cranium. RadioGraphics 2010; 30:461-482
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August 26 2016

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