Twist drill craniostomy vs burr hole drainage of chronic subdural hematoma: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Karan J. Yagnik, Anshit Goyal, Jamie J. Van Gompel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: There is a clinical equipoise between burr hole drainage (BHD) or twist drill craniotomy (TDC) as initial surgical intervention in patients with chronic subdural hematoma (cSDH). Moreover, the impact of type of postoperative drainage is not well elucidated. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis comparing outcomes following BHD and TDC for initial surgical management in cSDH and to understand the impact of negative suction drainage with TDC. Methods: A literature search was conducted according to PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines for studies that directly compared TDC and BHD. The following outcomes were compared between TDC and BHD: mortality, recurrence, reoperations, complications, and cure rates. Subgroup analysis was performed to determine impact of negative suction drainage with TDC. Results: Sixteen articles (n = 1,235; TDC: 663; BHD: 591) met inclusion criteria. Although complications (OR: 0.68, 95% CI: 0.38–1.23, p = 0.21; I2 = 31%), recurrence (OR: 1.16, 95% CI: 0.84–1.62, p = 0.37; I2 = 28%), cure (OR: 1.11, 95% CI: 0.72–1.72, p = 0.64, I2 = 34%), and mortality rates (OR: 1.20, 95% CI: 0.60–2.41; p = 0.61; I2 = 0%) were not significantly different between the two groups, TDC was associated with a higher reoperations than BHD (OR: 1.48, 95% CI:1.01–2.16, p = 0.04; I2 = 41%). Subgroup analysis demonstrated that TDC with negative suction drainage conferred equivalent reoperation rates as BHD (OR: 0.75, 95% CI: 0.24–2.35; p = 0.62; I2 = 65%); however, TDC without negative suction was associated with higher reoperations (OR: 1.62, 95% CI: 1.08–2.42; p = 0.02; I2 = 40%). Conclusion: A systematic review and meta-analysis of available literature directly comparing TDC and BHD for primary evacuation of cSDH did not demonstrate clear superiority of either technique, although reoperations may be higher following TDC. Use of negative suction drainage with TDC may lead to similar rates of reoperation as BHD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3229-3241
Number of pages13
JournalActa Neurochirurgica
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Burr hole
  • Chronic subdural hematoma
  • Craniotomy
  • Literature review
  • Subdural drainage
  • Twist drill

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Twist drill craniostomy vs burr hole drainage of chronic subdural hematoma: a systematic review and meta-analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this