Efficacy and Versatility of the 3-D Titanium Mesh Implant in the Closure of Large Post-Craniectomy Osseous Defects, and its Therapeutic Role in Reversing the Syndrome of the Trephined: Clinical Study of a Case Series and Review of Literature

Priya Jeyaraj
Journal of Maxillofacial and Oral Surgery 2016, 15 (1): 82-92

INTRODUCTION: An ideal cranioplasty material is one which adequately restores calvarial continuity, contour and esthetics, provides adequate cerebral protection, is biocompatible and corrosion resistant, lightweight yet strong, easy to manipulate and possesses long term stability. The 3-D Titanium mesh implant fulfills most of these criteria, and offers certain added advantages, as exemplified in this case series. Four patients with post craniectomy osseous defects of varying sizes and at different locations of the calvarium were studied. In addition to the obvious cosmetic deformity, the patients also exhibited various subjective and objective features of neurosensory and motor deficits characteristic of the motor trephine syndrome (MTS), that often develops secondary to large cranial defects.

OBJECTIVE: There have been no documented reports so far on the effect of Titanium mesh cranioplasty on features of the MTS in patients with large cranial defects. It was the objective of this study to see if any specific therapeutic goals such as reversal of the neurological deterioration and sensorimotor deficits associated with the syndrome could be achieved by performing Titanium mesh cranioplasty to reconstruct the missing part of the cranial shield in these patients. Any added benefits of using 3-D Titanium mesh as a cranioplasty material were also recorded.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The cranial defects in all four patients were reconstructed using different dimensions of Titanium mesh implants. Two of the cases were early cranioplasties (performed within 3 months of craniectomy) and two were late cranioplasties (performed after 3 months of craniectomy), one of them even being a previous autologous bone flap cranioplasty failure. The patients were followed up for a period ranging from 3 to 4 years and observed carefully for cosmetic, functional and neurological improvements following the cranioplasty.

RESULTS: There was achieved gratifying cosmetic correction of the cranial deformities, and remarkable functional recovery from the sensorimotor deficits, reversal of the neurological deterioration as well as resolution of most of the symptoms of MTS in all the four patients, following the Titanium mesh cranioplasty. Many added benefits were noted, such as quick post operative recovery, absence of any early or late complications and a ready means to aspirate any epidural collections, if they developed post operatively, through the mesh structure of the implant.

CONCLUSION: Apart from the cosmetic, functional and protective roles, Titanium mesh cranioplasty demonstrated a definite therapeutic role in all the cases presented, making it preferable to even replacement with natural bone (either re-implanted excised autologous bone flaps, or cortico-cancellous bone autografts). It is an extremely safe and reliable alternative to autografts, and is even preferable to them, especially when the size of the cranial defect is large.

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