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The role of the pediatric neurosurgeon in abusive head injuries: a survey of members of the International Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery


Background and purpose

Pediatric neurosurgeons are at the forefront of the clinical management of abusive head injuries (AHI) all over the world. However, the discrepancies regarding medical practice and legal requirements in different centers have not been assessed before.

Material and methods

We decided to perform an online survey among members of the International Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery (ISPN) regarding their activity, their usual clinical practice regarding the medical and legal management of AHI, and their involvement in judiciary proceedings, research, and prevention campaigns.


Ninety members of the ISPN participated in the survey, representing 26% of the registered members. Most responders were senior pediatric neurosurgeons practicing in a university hospital. Their responses show great homogeneity regarding surgical, intensive care, and legal management. We also noted the widespread use of invasive intracranial pressure monitoring and decompressive craniotomy. By contrast, the responses show great disparity regarding the circuit of patients. This disparity may be an obstacle to the collection of data and clinical research, as well as for the involvement of neurosurgeons in multidisciplinary evaluation. A minority of neurosurgeons were engaged in research and actions of prevention.


Pediatric neurosurgeons play a pivotal role in the diagnosis and medical management of AHI. Because of their proficiency in head trauma and cerebrospinal fluid disorders, it is desirable that they become more implicated in multidisciplinary meetings, medical expertise, and scientific research, as well as actions of prevention.

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Availability of data and material

We the authors commit ourselves to provide all data of the survey upon request. Data and material are stored.


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We the authors declare having both participated in the organization of the survey, the exploitation of its results, and the redaction of the present manuscript. All the authors made contribution in the collection of clinical data and discussions.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Matthieu Vinchon.

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Vinchon, M., Di Rocco, F. The role of the pediatric neurosurgeon in abusive head injuries: a survey of members of the International Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery. Childs Nerv Syst 38, 2289–2294 (2022).

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