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Br J Neurosurg. 2008 Apr;22(2):279-82. doi: 10.1080/02688690701818885.

Number of burr holes as independent predictor of postoperative recurrence in chronic subdural haematoma.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Kantonsspital Aarau, Aarau, Switzerland.


Chronic subdural haematoma (cSDH) is one of the most frequent neurosurgical entities. Current treatment options include burr hole craniostomy, twist drill craniostomy or craniotomy. While burr hole craniostomy is the most often used technique, there are no studies analysing the use of one vs. two burr holes in respect to recurrence rates and complications. This retrospective study included 76 (age: 60 +/- 12 years) patients presenting with cSDH admitted in our institution from January 2004 to December 2005. A total of 21 (27%) patients underwent bilateral craniostomy. The patients were assessed using the Markwalder Scale (2 +/- 0.71), Glasgow Coma Scale (14 +/- 1) and measuring the haematoma thickness (1.8 +/- 0.7 cm). The decision to perform one or two burr hole was made according to the personal preference of the treating neurosurgeon. All patients underwent irrigation and placement of closed-system drainage. Out of the 97 haematoma, 63 (65%) haematomas were treated with two burr holes, whereas 34 (35%) were treated with one burr hole. Patients with one burr hole had a statistically significant (p < 0.05) higher recurrence rate (29 vs. 5%), longer average hospitalization length (11 vs. 9 days) and higher wound infection rate (9% vs. 0%). A multivariate regression analysis identified the number of holes as single predictor for postoperative recurrence rate (r(2) = 0.12; p < 0.001). In this study, the treatment of cSDH with one burr hole only is associated with a significantly higher postoperative recurrence rate, longer hospitalization length and higher wound infection rate.

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