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      Traumatic encephalocele related to orbital roof fractures: report of six cases and literature review

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      Surgical Neurology

      Elsevier BV

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          Orbital roof fractures after blunt injury are rare. Traumatic encephaloceles in the orbital cavity are even rarer, with only 15 cases published to date. The clinical, radiological, and surgical findings of 6 cases of traumatic encephalocele treated at our institution from June 1998 to January 2000 are presented. They are also compared with previously published series. In contrast to other published cases, 5 out of 6 patients in our series were adults. The most common cause of trauma was road traffic accident. Ecchymosis and preoperative exophthalmos/proptosis were frequent. In all of our patients a coronal CT scan (3 mm increments with bone windows) was obtained. It demonstrated the extension of the orbital roof fractures and a possible encephalocele in 4 cases. Associated frontal brain contusions were seen in 5 cases. An MRI was performed in 3 patients (and only in 2 previously published cases); it showed the extension of the brain herniation into the orbital cavity. Surgical treatment via a fronto-basal approach with evacuation of the contused herniated brain tissue and orbital roof reconstruction was performed. The outcome at 6 months was good recovery in five patients with one patient still in a persistent vegetative state. Postoperatively the ocular disturbances improved in 5 cases. A review of the other published cases confirmed recovery of normal ocular function in the vast majority of the cases. Whenever orbital roof fractures associated with frontal contusions are identified in an acute brain injured patient, an orbital encephalocele should be suspected. In our opinion MRI is the investigation of choice in such patients. If the encephalocele is confirmed, a surgical approach via the subfrontal route is indicated with resection of herniated contused brain tissue, dural closure, and orbital roof reconstruction. Good results in regard to the orbital symptoms (mainly exophthalmos) can be expected.

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          Author and article information

          Surgical Neurology
          Surgical Neurology
          Elsevier BV
          February 2002
          February 2002
          : 57
          : 2
          : 117-125
          © 2002


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