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Surg Neurol Int. 2015 May 7;6:70. doi: 10.4103/2152-7806.156632. eCollection 2015.

Pseudomeningocele formation following chiari decompression: 19-year retrospective review of predisposing and prognostic factors.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Shreveport, LA, USA.
Department of Biometry, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Shreveport, LA, USA.



Pseudomeningocele is a known operative complication of Chiari decompression with significant morbidity.


A retrospective analysis of 150 consecutive patients from November 1991 to June 2011 was conducted. Symptomatic pseudomeningocele was defined clinically; to meet definition it must have required operative intervention. Variables evaluated included sex, age, use of graft, and use of operative sealant. The Chi-square, Fisher test, and the two-sample t-test were used as appropriate to determine significance. Multiple logistic regression was used to determine independent risk factors for complication.


A total of 67.3% of patients were female, with average age being 39.7 years. A total of 67.3% of patients had a graft placed with the most common being fascia lata. Only nine patients (6%) presented with pseudomeningocele. Factors observed to be significantly associated with pseudomeningocele development were age and use of sealant. Age and sealant use were also independent risk factors for complication. Adjusted for the significant effect of age, odds for complication among patients with sealant usage were 6.67 times those for patients without sealant. Adjusted for the significance of sealant usage, there is a 6% increase in odds for complication for every year increase in patient's age.


A statistically significant relationship exists between age and sealant use and the risk of developing a postoperative pseudomeningocele. Emphasis and attention must be placed on meticulous closure technique. This information can aide in preoperative planning and patient selection.


Arnold-Chiari malformation; operative complications; operative sealant; pseudomeningocele

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