Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan


  • James F. MalecEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_1037


Decompressive craniectomy


Craniectomy or decompressive craniectomy is a surgical procedure in which a section of the skull is removed and not immediately replaced (Aarabi et al. 2006). This procedure is most frequently used when increased intracranial pressure following traumatic brain injury does not respond to other less aggressive interventions. However, its use and benefits remain controversial (Kolias et al. 2013). Following brain trauma, the brain may expand within the skull. The resulting increased intracranial pressure can compromise brain function, particularly in the brain stem. Compression of the brain stem can compromise its basic life support functions, that is, cardiac and respiratory regulation, creating a life-threatening situation. By removing part of the skull, the swelling brain is provided room to expand, reducing intracranial pressure and pressure on the brain stem. Although the section of the skull that is removed in a craniectomy is not...

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References and Readings

  1. Aarabi, B., Hesdorffer, D., Ahn, E., Aresco, C., Scalea, T. M., & Eisenberg, H. M. (2006). Outcome following decompressive craniectomy for malignant swelling due to severe head injury. Journal of Neurosurgery, 104, 469–479.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. Jiang, J. Y., Xu, W., Li, W. P., Xu, W. H., Zhang, J., Bao, Y. H., et al. (2005). Efficacy of standard trauma craniectomy for refractory intracranial hypertension with severe traumatic brain injury: A multicenter, prospective, randomized controlled study. Journal of Neurotrauma, 22(6), 623–628.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  3. Kolias, A. G., Kirkpatrick, P. J., & Hutchinson, P. J. (2013). Decompressive craniectomy: Past, present and future. Nature Reviews Neurology, 9(7), 405–415.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. Woertgen, C., Rothoerl, R. D., Schebesch, K. M., & Albert, R. (2006). Comparison of craniotomy and craniectomy in patients with acute subdural haematoma. Journal of Clinical Neuroscience, 13(7), 718–721.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physical Medicine and RehabilitationIndiana University School of Medicine and the Rehabilitation Hospital of IndianaIndianapolisUSA