The Risk of Spread of Infection During Craniotomy/Craniostomy on Patients with Active Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Infection: Myth or Fact?
World neurosurgery (Online)
OBJECTIVES: Craniotomies/craniostomies have been categorized as aerosol-generating procedures and are presumed to spread coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, the presence of severe acute respiratory distress syndrome coronavirus 2 virus in the generated bone dust has never been proved. Our objective is to evaluate the presence of virus in the bone dust (aerosol) generated during emergency neurosurgical procedures performed on patients with active COVID-19. This would determine the true risk of disease transmission during the surgery. METHODS: Ten patients with active COVID-19 infection admitted to our institute in 1 month required emergency craniotomy/craniostomy. The bone dust and mucosal scrapings form paranasal sinuses (if opened) collected during these procedures were tested for the virus using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. The entire surgical team was observed for any symptoms related to COVID-19 for 14 days following surgery. RESULTS: Nine patients had moderate viral load in their nasopharyngeal cavity, as detected on reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. None of the samples of bone dust from these 10 patients tested positive. Mucosal scrapping obtained in 1 patient in which mastoid air cells were inadvertently opened tested negative as well. No health workers from the operating room developed COVID-19-related symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: The bone dust generated during craniotomy/stomy of active patients does not contain the virus. The procedure on an active patient is unlikely to spread the disease. However, a study with larger cohort would be confirmatory.