Different conditions of the posterior fossa such as Chiari malformations, tumors, and arachnoid cysts require surgery through a suboccipital approach, for which a typical midline vertical linear incision is used. Curvilinear incisions have been carried in all other scalp regions other than the sub region for better cosmetic outcomes; a vertical curvilinear incision in the occipital and suboccipital region has not been reported.
To evaluate the cosmetic value and safety of the “3 on a stick” vertical suboccipital curvilinear incision.
We compared curvilinear to linear incisions, considering the scar’s width, color, how conspicuous, and how well the scar could be covered by hair naturally.
Between 2010 and 2016, 68 children with Chiari I malformation were surgically intervened. The curvilinear incision was performed in 56 (82.4%) while a linear incision in 12 (17.6%) children. There were only 2 (2.9%) wound related complications (superficial dehiscences) in the curvilinear group and 1 additional dehiscence in a linear incision case. There were no neural or vascular complications. Scars were very similar among the 2 groups; both were equally conspicuous but curvilinear ones seemed to get covered better by hair.
The “3 on a stick” curvilinear incision of the suboccipital region is safe and allows for better hair coverage of the scar. It can be used for multiple conditions requiring a midline suboccipital or even occipital approach, such as Chiari malformations, tumors, and cysts.