Risk of Complications with Simultaneous Cranioplasty and Placement of Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt

R. Michael Meyer, Ryan P. Morton, Isaac Josh Abecassis, Jason K. Barber, Samuel N. Emerson, John D. Nerva, Andrew L. Ko, Michelle C. Chowdhary, Michael R. Levitt, Randall M. Chesnut

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background The development of hydrocephalus (HCP) necessitating placement of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt (VPS) after decompressive hemicraniectomy occurs at a rate of approximately 5%–15%. The ideal approach for addressing both HCP and a cranial defect remains unclear, and whether concomitant VPS and cranioplasty (CP) increases the risk of complications is uncertain. Methods This is a retrospective cohort study of adult patients who underwent CP and VPS placement for any indication at Harborview Medical Center, Seattle between March 2004 and November 2014 with at least 30 days of follow-up. The primary variable of interest was the timing of CP relative to VPS placement. The outcomes of interest were CP- and VPS-related infections, early (within 1 year of placement) VPS obstruction, and a composite of any of these complications in a single patient. Results The rate of composite outcomes was 15% in the subgroup of patients with simultaneous CP and VPS placement, compared with 29% in the subgroup of patients in whom CP and VPS placement were performed separately, a non–statistically significant difference (P = 0.24). Similarly, there was no statistically significant difference between the subgroups in any of the 3 individual outcomes of interest, which remained after accounting for potential covariates in a multivariate regression model. Conclusions In our study population, there was no difference between simultaneous and separate CP and VPS placement with respect to CP infection, VPS infection, and VPS mechanical failure/obstruction. There is equipoise in the current literature regarding the safety of performing these 2 common procedures simultaneously, with studies of similar size and design finding variable degrees of safety of this practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)830-833
Number of pages4
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StatePublished - Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Cranioplasty
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Infection
  • Ventriculoperitoneal shunt

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery


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