Decompressive craniectomy in a neurologically devastated pregnant woman to maintain fetal viability: Case report

Nathaniel Whitney, Ahmed M. Raslan, Brian T. Ragel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) in pregnant women can result in devastating outcomes for both the mother and the fetus. Historically, there has been concern regarding the issues involved when the fetus is not yet viable outside the womb. Currently, the ability to treat severe TBI with aggressive management of intracranial pressure (ICP) has led to the possibility of sustaining maternal life until the fetus is of a viable age and can be delivered. The authors present the case of a young woman 21 weeks pregnant with a severe TBI (Glasgow Coma Scale Score 3) in whom safe medical ICP management became ineffective. A decompressive craniectomy was performed to obviate the need for aggressive medical management of elevated ICP using fetal-toxic medications, and thus providing the fetus the best chance of continued in utero development until a viable gestational age was reached.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)487-490
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2012



  • Decompressive hemicraniectomy
  • Fetus
  • Pregnant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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