Neurosurgical Review

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 287–295 | Cite as

Histological and biomechanical study of dura mater applied to the technique of dura splitting decompression in Chiari type I malformation

  • Dorian ChauvetEmail author
  • Alexandre Carpentier
  • Jean-Marc Allain
  • Marc Polivka
  • Jérôme Crépin
  • Bernard George
Original Article


Many techniques are described to treat Chiari type I malformation. One of them is a splitting of the dura, removing its outer layer only to reduce the risks of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak. We try to show the effectiveness of this technique from histological and biomechanical observations of dura mater. Study was performed on 25 posterior fossa dura mater specimens from fresh human cadavers. Dural composition and architecture was assessed on 47 transversal and sagittal sections. Uniaxial mechanical tests were performed on 22 dural samples (15 entire, 7 split) to focus on the dural macroscopic mechanical behavior comparing entire and split samples and also to understand deformation mechanisms. We finally created a model of volume expansion after splitting. Dura mater was composed of predominant collagen fibers with a few elastin fibers, cranio-caudally orientated. The classical description of two distinct layers remained inconstant. Biomechanical tests showed a significant difference between entire dura, which presents an elastic fragile behavior, with a small domain where deformation is reversible with stress, and split dura, which presents an elasto-plastic behavior with a large domain of permanent strain and a lower stress level. From these experimental results, the model showed a volume increase of approximately 50% below the split area. We demonstrated the capability of the split dura mater to enlarge for suitable stress conditions and we quantified it by biomechanical tests and experimental model. Thus, dural splitting decompression seems to have a real biomechanical substrate to envision the efficacy of this Chiari type I malformation surgical technique.


Dura mater Chiari type I malformation Dural splitting Biomechanical study 



The authors thank all the team of Pr Frileux at the Ecole de Chirurgie Assistance Publique–Hopitaux de Paris, especially René Gicquelet and Djamel Taleb for their assistance.


There is no financial disclosure. There is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dorian Chauvet
    • 1
    • 5
    Email author
  • Alexandre Carpentier
    • 2
  • Jean-Marc Allain
    • 3
  • Marc Polivka
    • 4
  • Jérôme Crépin
    • 3
  • Bernard George
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NeurosurgeryHopital LariboisièreParisFrance
  2. 2.Department of NeurosurgeryGroupe Hospitalier Pitié-SalpêtrièreParisFrance
  3. 3.LMS, UMR 7649, Ecole PolytechniquePalaiseauFrance
  4. 4.Department of Pathology and HistologyHopital LariboisièreParisFrance
  5. 5.ParisFrance

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