Grafts available for posterior fossa dural reconstruction after Chiari decompression surgery include synthetic, xenograft, allograft, and autograft materials. The reported rates of postoperative pseudomeningocele and cerebrospinal fluid leak vary, but so far, no dural patch material or technique has sufficiently eliminated these problems.
To compare the incidence of graft-related complications after posterior fossa surgery using AlloDerm alone vs AlloDerm with a DuraGen underlay.
We performed a retrospective single-center study of a cohort of 106 patients who underwent Chiari decompression surgery by a single surgeon from 2014 through 2021. Age, sex, body mass index, tonsillar descent, syrinx formation, type of dural graft, and follow-up data were analyzed using univariate and χ2 statistical tests.
The AlloDerm-only group had a percutaneous cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak rate of 8.6% vs a 0% rate in the dual graft group (P = .037). At initial follow-up, there was a 15.5% combined rate of pseudomeningocele formation plus CSF leak in the AlloDerm-only group vs 18.8% in the AlloDerm + DuraGen group (P = .659). However, the pseudomeningoceles were larger in the AlloDerm-only cohort (45.5 vs 22.4 mm anteroposterior plane, P = .004), and 5 patients in this group required operative repair (56%). All pseudomeningoceles resolved without reoperation in the AlloDerm + DuraGen group (P = .003).
The use of a DuraGen underlay with a sutured AlloDerm dural patch resulted in significantly fewer CSF-related complications and eliminated the need for reoperation compared with AlloDerm alone. This single-center study provides evidence that buttressing posterior fossa dural grafts with a DuraGen underlay may decrease the risk of postoperative complications.