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Sinking skin flap syndrome in glioblastoma


Sinking skin flap syndrome (SSFS) is a rare neurological complication in patients with traumatic haemorrhage, stroke or cerebral oedema who undergo decompressive craniectomy to relieve increased intracranial pressure. Hallmark of SSFS is the sinking of the scalp to a plane lower than the edges of the skull defect in the setting of neurological deterioration. Our objective is to report that SSFS can present after small craniotomy without cerebral cortex compression and to share our diagnostic/therapeutic approach. A 62-year-old woman with a glioblastoma developed SSFS after a small craniectomy and tumour resection without cerebral cortex compression but a decrease in the surgical cavity volume. Brain MRI showed decreased size of the surgical cavity. Interestingly, the patient also developed posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES).

This case highlights an atypical presentation of SSFS and the possible association with PRES. It also illustrates how an early cranioplasty can successfully reverse SSFS.

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