Case report of MR perfusion imaging in Sinking Skin Flap Syndrome: growing evidence for hemodynamic impairment
- Equal contributors
1 Institute for Clinical Radiology, University Hospital of Muenster, Albert-Schweitzer-Strasse 33, 48149 Muenster, Germany
2 Department of Neurology, University Hospital of Muenster, Albert-Schweitzer-Strasse 33, 48149 Muenster, Germany
3 Department of Neurosurgery, University Hospital of Muenster, Albert-Schweitzer-Strasse 33, 48149 Muenster, Germany
BMC Neurology 2010, 10:80 doi:10.1186/1471-2377-10-80Published: 11 September 2010
The syndrome of the sinking skin flap (SSSF) with delayed sensorimotor deficits after craniectomy is not well known and often neglected. Among various postulated causes, there is evidence that disturbed brain perfusion may be related to the observed symptoms, and that cranioplasty reliably alleviates these symptoms. We report a case of sinking skin flap syndrome (SSFS) with recovery from neurological sensorimotor deficits after cranioplasty correlated with pre- and postsurgical MR brain perfusion studies.
A 42-year-old woman presented with slowly progressive sensorimotor paresis of her left arm after decompressive extensive craniectomy due to subarachnoid hemorrhage four months ago. Her right cranium showed a "sinking skin flap". After cranioplastic repair of her skull defect, the patient fully recovered from her symptoms. Before cranioplasty, reduced brain perfusion in the right central cortical region was observed in MR-perfusion images. After cranioplasty, a marked increase in brain perfusion was observed which correlated with objective clinical recovery.
There is increasing evidence that impaired blood flow is responsible for delayed motor deficits in patients with sinking skin flap syndrome in the area of compressed brain regions. Symptoms should be evaluated by brain perfusion imaging complementing surgical decision-making.