Only few studies have assessed brain shift caused by positional change. This study aimed to identify factors correlated with a large postneurosurgical positional brain shift (PBS). Sixty-seven patients who underwent neurosurgical procedures had upright computed tomography (CT) scan using settings similar to those of conventional supine CT. The presence of a clinically significant PBS, defined as a brain shift of ≥ 5 mm caused by positional change, was evaluated. The clinical and radiological findings were investigated to identify factors associated with a larger PBS. As a result, twenty-one patients had a clinically significant PBS. The univariate analysis showed that supratentorial lesion location, intra-axial lesion type, craniectomy procedure, and residual intracranial air were the predictors of PBS. Based on the multivariate analysis, craniectomy procedure (p < 0.001) and residual intracranial air volume (p = 0.004) were the predictors of PBS. In a sub-analysis of post-craniectomy patients, PBS was larger in patients with supratentorial craniectomy site and parenchymal brain injury. A large craniectomy area and long interval from craniectomy were correlated with the extent of PBS. In conclusion, patients who undergo craniectomy and those with residual intracranial air can present with a large PBS. In post-craniectomy patients, the predisposing factors of a large PBS are supratentorial craniectomy, presence of parenchymal injury, large skull defect area, and long interval from craniectomy. These findings can contribute to safe mobilization among postneurosurgical patients and the risk assessment of sinking skin flap syndrome.
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