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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 384-391

Intracranial abscesses: Retrospective analysis of 32 patients and review of literature


Division of Neurological Surgery, Department of Surgery and Pathology, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. David O Udoh
Department of Surgery and Pathology, Division of Neurological Surgery, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, P. M. B. 1111, Benin City, Edo State
Nigeria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1793-5482.150007

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Background: Intracranial abscess collections, though uncommon, are dreaded complications of head trauma, neurosurgical operations, meningitis, and otogenic, mastoid, and paranasal air sinus infections. Combining surgical evacuation with the appropriate antibiotic therapy is the effective treatment for intracranial abscesses. However, literature on surgical treatment is replete with several procedures which, on their own, may not determine outcome. Objectives: To determine the epidemiology and outcomes (of various treatment modalities) of intracranial abscesses in our institution, a major referral center for neurosurgical conditions in the midwestern region of Nigeria. Materials and Methods: This is a retrospective analysis of demographic data as well as indications, treatment modalities, and outcomes of various surgical procedures for evacuation of intracranial abscesses between September 2006 and December 2011. Results: We carried out 40 procedures in 32 (23 male and 9 female) patients with various intracranial abscesses. These represented approximately 5.6% of all operative neurosurgical procedures in our unit since inception. Most abscesses [16, i.e. 50%] occurred in the second decade. In the first decade, there were 7 (22%), and after the age of 30 years, there were 4 (12.5%). The most susceptible single year of life was infancy with 4 (12.5%) cases of intracranial abscesses. None of the infants had features of congenital heart disease. The predisposing factors were mostly otolaryngologic (9) or posttraumatic (6). Most abscesses (41%) were located in the frontal region, and intraparenchymal (i.e. intracerebral or intracerebellar) (50%) lesions were commoner than extradural, subdural, or intraventricular lesions. The commonest procedure performed (50%) was burr hole evacuation. Four patients (12.5% of cases) died. Prognosis appears to worsen with meningitis as the predisposing infection, ventriculitis, multiple abscesses especially in infants, and immunosuppression. Conclusion: The relative rarity of intracranial abscesses and the frequent delays in making the diagnosis render the condition a significant challenge to the clinician. A high index of suspicion, close interaction between the neurosurgeon and infectious disease specialist, with early treatment by adequate abscess drainage and appropriate antimicrobial treatment are important in their management.


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