Bone flap salvage in acute surgical site infection after craniotomy for tumor resection

David J. Wallace, Michael J. McGinity, John R Floyd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Craniotomy surgical site infections are an inherent risk and dreaded complication for the elective brain tumor patient. Sequelae can include delays in resumption in adjuvant treatments for multiple surgeries if staged cranioplasty is pursued. Here, the authors review their experience in operative debridement of surgical site infections with single-stage reimplantation of the salvaged craniotomy bone flap. A prospectively maintained database of a single surgeon’s neuro-oncology patients from 2009 to 2017 (JRF) was queried to identify 11 patients with surgical site infection after craniotomy for tumor resection. All patients underwent a protocol of aggressive operative debridement including drilling the bone edges and intraoperative flap sterilization with single-stage reimplantation, followed by tailored-antibiotic therapy. Ten of the 11 patients with frankly contaminated bone flaps from surgical site infection were able to be salvaged in a single-stage procedure. Five of these patients underwent adjuvant chemotherapy and/or radiation without secondary complication. There was one treatment failure in a delayed fashion which required additional surgery for craniectomy; however, this occurred after adjuvant treatment was administered. Surgical debridement and bone flap salvage is safe and cost-effective in managing acute surgical site infections after craniotomy for tumors. Additionally, this practice is likely beneficial in expediting the resumption of cancer therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalNeurosurgical Review
StateAccepted/In press - Feb 10 2018


  • Adjuvant therapy
  • Bone flap
  • Craniotomy infection
  • Pus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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