Paradoxical Herniation after Unilateral Decompressive Craniectomy: A Retrospective Analysis of Clinical Characteristics and Effectiveness of Therapeutic Measures
AIM: We aimed to investigate the importance of early diagnosis and proper management of paradoxical herniation based on the
data of 13 patients who had 14 occurrences of paradoxical herniation.
MATERIAL and METHODS: The characteristics and the effectiveness of treatments of 13 patients with paradoxical herniation were
reviewed and analyzed retrospectively.
RESULTS: Paradoxical herniation occurred in eight patients (61.54%) during the postoperative 2 weeks and they presented with
typical symptoms of brain herniation and a tense skin flap without sinking at the region of decompressive craniectomy. On the other
hand, six patients developed paradoxical herniation in the postoperative period of 2 weeks to 2 months and presented with sinking
skin flaps and delayed neurological deficits. Furthermore, all patients received emergency treatments, including sufficient hydration,
clamping cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) drainage, and being placed in the Trendelenburg position. Six patients achieved full neurologic
recovery after successful cranioplasty.
CONCLUSION: Intracranial hypotension causing paradoxical herniation can rapidly progress, especially along with CSF depletion.
It is important for neurosurgeons to suspect paradoxical herniation in a subset of patients with large cranium defects and tense skin
flap without sinking during the postoperative 2 weeks. Paradoxical herniation is rapidly reverted by improving CSF hydration, and
performing early cranioplasty referred as the definitive treatment.