Strokectomy and extensive cisternal csf drain for acute management of malignant middle cerebral artery infarction: Technical note and case series

Fulvio Tartara, Elena Virginia Colombo, Daniele Bongetta, Giulia Pilloni, Carlo Bortolotti, Davide Boeris, Francesco Zenga, Alessia Giossi, Alfonso Ciccone, Maria Sessa, Marco Cenzato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Purpose: Ischemic stroke is a major cause of death and disability worldwide. Large MCA stroke may evolve as malignant space occupying lesion and mortality rate reaches 80% despite maximal medical therapy. Early decompressive craniectomy is effective in reducing mortality and improving the functional outcome but is an extended and invasive surgical approach burdened with a significant complication rate. We report a surgical treatment based on partial strokectomy and basal cisterns opening with massive CSF drain. Materials and Methods: We retrospectively collected 15 cases of massive middle cerebral artery stroke treated with strokectomy between 2010 and 2017: nine males and six females, mean age 61.73 ± 9.5 years. The right side was affected in 66.7%. All patients show clinical deterioration despite standard medical therapy and indication for surgery was placed after collegiate evaluation by neurologists and neurosurgeons based on clinical and radiological data. Results: Surgical procedure was performed 24–96 h after the stroke onset. All the 15 patients survived the intervention, one patient died 20 days after the admission for massive lung embolism. Mean GCS and NIHSS at admission were 12.6 ± 1.18 (range 9–15) and 19.7 ± 2.3 (range 18–23), respectively. Mean mRS at 12 months was 3.6 ± 1.1 (range 2–6). Mean follow-up was 18.1 months (range 12–34). The outcome was evaluated as satisfactory (mRs ≤ 3) in 8 patients (53.3%). Mortality at 1 year was 6.7%. No patients developed hydrocephalus and 1 presented seizures. According to mRs outcome evaluation (mRs ≤ 3 vs. mRs ≥ 4) no quantitative variable resulted significantly different between the two groups, whereas the concomitant use of iv rTPA significantly differed (P < 0.05). Conclusion: Supratentorial strokectomy seems to be safe and could be a potential alternative to decompressive craniectomy for the acute management of malignant MCA stroke. Advantages of this approach could be low complication rate, avoidance of bone reconstruction procedure, and reduced occurrence of hydrocephalus or seizures. A co-operative multicentric, prospective pilot study will be necessary to validate this technical approach.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1017
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Issue numberSEP
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2019


  • Basal cisterns opening
  • Cerebrospinal fluid drainage
  • Ischemic stroke
  • Malignant MCA stroke
  • Strokectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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