Incidental durotomy in spinal surgery has been reported with incidences varying between 1 and over 16%, depending on the type of surgery and the region of the spine. When a dural tear occurs, immediate and meticulous repair is advised in order to minimize the risk of complications secondary to persistent leakage of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). These complications include intracranial hypotension, pseudomeningocele formation and the development of a CSF fistula with secondary wound infection and meningitis. Most dural tears are caused during biting actions by Kerrison rongeurs, and dural adhesions, dural redundancy and thinned dura are known risk factors. Accurate visualization and thorough preparation of the surgical field are key steps in dural tear repair. Those tears that are amenable to it should be carefully sutured. Large defects may require a patch of dural substitute to be sewed in. Autologous fat has proven to be useful as onlay or plugin graft. The use of fibrin glue has become a widespread practice and its effectiveness as an adjunct to primary suturing and graft constructions has been well demonstrated. Hydrogel sealants and collagen matrix onlay grafts have become available to the surgeon as additional tools in dural tear repair. However, primary suturing — if possible — is still considered to be the most effective way of reducing the chance of persistent CSF leakage. Tight closure of the fascial layer is imperative. After lumbar durotomy repair, bed rest is advised. Postoperative lumbar or ventricular CSF drainage can also help as an additional protective measure. While numerous measures and tools are available, the key message is that the surgeon confronted with a dural tear should take his time and apply all intraoperative and postoperative means required to secure watertight closure.
ArgoSpine News & Journal – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 28, 2013