Craniofacial infection in 10 years of transcranial surgery

David J. David*, Rodney D. Cooter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Citations (Scopus)


Infection following transcranial surgery may be devastating. A review of 170 transcranial operations is presented with a focus on postoperative infection and its relationship to patient age, preoperative microbiology, pattern of operation, length of operation, and the use of antibiotic prophylaxis. The overall postoperative infection rate was 6.5 percent, but the infection rate in adults (23.5 percent) was much higher than in children (2.2 percent). Higher infection rates were found in adults with craniofacial dysostoses undergoing lengthy frontofacial advancements which required tracheostomy airway management. The residual frontal extradural dead space following advancement in adults is a sanctuary to infecting organisms from the respiratory tract—especially Pseudomonas transferred from the tracheostomy site into the upper airway and intracranial dead space by ventilation forces. Operating times for patients who became infected were 21/2 hours longer than average operating times for transcranial operations. Preoperative microbiology of the craniofacial region was not a good predictor of subsequent infection. Recommendations include operative intervention at an early age, short preoperative hospital stay, antibiotic prophylaxis to include gram-negative cover, surgical measures to either fill or isolate the dead space, and strict tracheostomy care—preferably with the patient being barrier-nursed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-223
Number of pages11
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Craniofacial infection in 10 years of transcranial surgery'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this