Symptomatic Pneumocephalus after Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery: Report of 2 Cases

Luigi Albano, Pratik Rohatgi, Alon Kashanian, Ausaf Bari, Nader Pouratian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Symptomatic pneumocephalus is an uncommon complication of cranial surgery. Reports of symptomatic pneumocephalus in deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery are lacking, due to the rarity of this condition. The -authors describe 2 patients who experienced clinically significant intraparenchymal pneumocephalus as a consequence of DBS surgery and report their clinical presentations, treatments, and outcomes. Cases Descriptions: The first patient was a 69-year-old woman with Parkinson disease and the second was a 73-year-old woman with medically refractory essential tremor. Both patients underwent DBS implantation and developed focal neurological deficits in the days after surgery. In each case, immediate postoperative head computed tomography scans showed extra-axial pneumocephalus which redistributed on subsequent imaging along the dorsal length of the lead. For each patient, a second surgery was carried out to evacuate the pneumocephalus without lead removal. Clinical symptoms and radiological signs of intracranial air were resolved on the last follow-up. Conclusion: Symptomatic intraparenchymal pneumocephalus is a rare complication of DBS surgery which can be treated with surgical evacuation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30-36
Number of pages7
JournalStereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain shift
  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Essential tremor
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Pneumocephalus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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