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Department of Neurosurgery, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, USA

Department of Neurosurgery, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.

Rabie A, Verhagen Metman L, Slavin KV. Using “Functional” Target Coordinates of the Subthalamic Nucleus to Assess the Indirect and Direct Methods of the Preoperative Planning: Do the Anatomical and Functional Targets Coincide? Brain Sci. 2016 Dec 21;6(4). pii: E65. doi: 10.3390/brainsci6040065. PubMed PMID: 28009826.

Department of Neurosurgery, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois

Early postoperative head computed tomography scanning is routinely performed following intracranial procedures for detection of postoperative complications, but its real value remains uncertain: so-called abnormal results are frequently found, but active, emergency intervention based on these findings may be rare.

Fontes et al retrospectively analyzed 892 intracranial procedures followed by an early postoperative CT scan performed over a 1-year period at Rush University Medical Center and classified these cases according to postoperative neurological status: baseline, predicted neurological change, unexpected neurological change, and sedated or comatose. The interpretation of CT results was reviewed and unexpected CT findings were classified based on immediate action taken: Type I, additional observation and CT; Type II, active nonsurgical intervention; and Type III, surgical intervention. Results were compared between neurological examination groups with the Fisher exact test.

Patients with unexpected neurological changes or in the sedated or comatose group had significantly more unexpected findings on the postoperative CT (p < 0.001; OR 19.2 and 2.3, respectively) and Type II/III interventions (p < 0.001) than patients at baseline. Patients at baseline or with expected neurological changes still had a rate of Type II/III changes in the 2.2%-2.4% range; however, no patient required an immediate return to the operating room.

Over a 1-year period in an academic neurosurgery service, no patient who was neurologically intact or who had a predicted neurological change required an immediate return to the operating room based on early postoperative CT findings. Obtaining early CT scans should not be a priority in these patients and may even be cancelled in favor of MRI studies, if the latter have already been planned and can be performed safely and in a timely manner. Early postoperative CT scanning does not assure an uneventful course, nor should it replace accurate and frequent neurological checks, because operative interventions were always decided in conjunction with the neurological examination 1).

Fontes RB, Smith AP, Muñoz LF, Byrne RW, Traynelis VC. Relevance of early head CT scans following neurosurgical procedures: an analysis of 892 intracranial procedures at Rush University Medical Center. J Neurosurg. 2014 Aug;121(2):307-12. doi: 10.3171/2014.4.JNS132429. Epub 2014 May 30. PubMed PMID: 24878289.
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