Reducing Surgical Revisions in Intracranial Complications of Pediatric Acute Sinusitis

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(1) To describe the demographics and clinical course of children with intracranial complications of sinusitis. (2) To elucidate factors that predict revision surgery in this population, such as type of initial surgery.

Study Design

Case series with chart review.


Tertiary care academic children’s hospital.

Subjects and Methods

A 15-year retrospective review identified 71 patients with intracranial complications of acute sinusitis. Primary outcome was need for revision surgery. Secondary outcomes were readmission, length of hospitalization, and long-term complications.


This study is the largest to date examining this disease process. Overall, 69 (97%) patients had surgery; 33 (46%) required revision surgery. Half of the patients with frontal sinus opacification underwent frontal sinus surgery at presentation (endoscopic, trephination, or cranialization). There was no difference in revision surgery between patients who had frontal sinus surgery and those who did not. Patients with frontal sinus surgery did not have a higher rate of complications or chronic sinusitis (P > .05). Subdural abscess was associated with multiple surgical procedures (odds ratio, 20.0; P < .01). Thirty-four patients (49%) required neurosurgery. These patients had a longer length of stay (odds ratio, 11.0; P < .01) and a higher readmission rate (P = .02). During the mean 92-month follow-up, 22 patients (33%) had long-term complications, and there was 1 death (1.4%).


Almost half of this cohort required multiple surgical procedures. In particular, patients with subdural abscess had significantly higher rates of revision surgery. Type of frontal sinus surgery was not correlated with need for revision surgery and was not associated with an increased rate of complications.

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