High-speed drill craniostomy as a minimally invasive method of chronic subdural hematoma management. Preliminary results of a pilot study

1,2 Alen Rončević
1 Goran Blagus
1,2 Marina Vekić Mužević
1,2 Dario Mužević
3 Bruno Splavski

1 Osijek University Hospital Center, Osijek, Croatia
2 Osijek Faculty of Medicine, Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek, Osijek, Croatia
3 University of Applied Health Sciences, Zagreb, Croatia


The objective of this study was to assess the safety and efficiency of minimally invasive high-speed drill craniostomy in the treatment of chronic subdural hematomas.

Study design:

The study was designed as a retrospective case series study.

Patients and Methods:

The patients with compressivechronic subdural hematomas were treated by minimally invasive high-speed craniostomy performed under local anesthesia or conscious sedation. A  minimal skin incision was followed by a single high-speed drill hole placement in the frontal or parietal region, over the area of maximal hematoma thickness. After hematoma  aspiration, a 1.9 mm silicone catheter was placed in subdural space and connected to gravity-assisted drainage. Patients were ambulatory immediately after surgery. Data on clinical course and outcome were recorded and analyzed.


There were 23 patients (5 female, 21.7%) included in the study. The median patient age was 77.5 years (interquartile range 67 – 83). Six (26.1%) of the patients had bilateral subdural  hematomas. Septated/multiloculated hematomas were observed in 6 (26.1%) patients. Heterodense hematomas denoting more recent bleeding were recorded in 16 (69.5%) patients.  The median duration of subdural drainage was 4 days (interquartile range 3 to 5). The median length of hospital stay was 9.5 days (interquartile range 6 – 16). One patient died of sepsis following a nosocomial respiratory infection. One patient developed a wound infection with subdural empyema, requiring subsequent craniotomy. One patient had deep venous  thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. In all patients, postoperative CT scans showed a significant reduction of hematoma volume and midline shifting. No postoperative seizures were  observed.


High-speed drill craniostomy is a safe, simple,  straightforward, and effective treatment for the management of chronic subdural hematomas, including multiloculated and heterodense  lesions. Elderly patients could most benefit from such a procedure, avoiding general anesthesia, prolonged intracranial procedures, and lengthy hospital stays.

Keywords: chronic subdural hematoma; high-speed drill, craniostomy