Novel Temporary Treatment for a Severe Case of Syndrome of Trephined

William L. Dillen, Thomas A. Pittman, Stephen L. Grupke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: Syndrome of the trephined is a unique neurosurgical condition that is seen in patients that have undergone craniectomy. While the symptoms of the condition range from mild to severe, the only definitive treatment for the condition is replacement of the bone flap. This article presents a novel, temporary treatment for syndrome of the trephined in a patient with severe symptoms who was unable to undergo immediate cranioplasty due to infection. Case Description: A 25-year-old gentleman with a history of trauma resulting in hydrocephalus, craniectomy, and eventually ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement presented with a cranial wound infection requiring removal of his bone flap. While being treated with antibiotics, with his bone flap removed, he developed severe syndrome of the trephined. An emergency bedside procedure was developed and executed to treat his condition. Conclusions: Treating syndrome of the trephined with an external suction device proved useful and lifesaving fort the patient presented. Such a device can be made with common supplies found within any hospital. The technique used to treat the patient is novel and may be useful for others to consider if ever faced with a similar situation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-204
Number of pages5
JournalWorld Neurosurgery
StatePublished - Dec 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018


  • Paradoxical herniation
  • Sinking skin flap syndrome
  • Syndrome of the trephined

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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