Management of the Repeatedly Failed Cranioplasty Following Large Postdecompressive Craniectomy: Establishing the Efficacy of Staged Free Latissimus Dorsi Transfer/Tissue Expansion/Custom Polyetheretherketone Implant Reconstruction

Gerhard S Mundinger, Kerry Latham, Jeffery Friedrich, Otway Louie, Hakim Said, Craig Birgfeld, Richard Ellenbogen, Richard A Hopper
Journal of Craniofacial Surgery 2016, 27 (8): 1971-1977

BACKGROUND: Postdecompressive craniotomy defect management following failed prior cranioplastyis challenging. The authors describe a staged technique utilizing free muscle transfer, tissue expansion, and custom polyetheretherketone (PEEK) implants for the management of previously failed cranioplasty sites in patients with complicating local factors.

METHODS: Consecutive patients with previously failed cranioplasties following large decompressive craniectomies underwent reconstruction of skull and soft tissue defects with staged free latissimus muscle transfer, tissue expansion, and placement of custom computer-aided design and modeling PEEK implants with a 'temporalis-plus' modification to minimize temporal hollowing. Implants were placed in a vascularized pocket at the third stage by elevating a plane between the previously transferred latissimus superficial fascia (left on the skin) and muscle (left on the dura/bone). Patients were evaluated postoperatively for cranioplasty durability, aesthetic outcome, and complications.

RESULTS: Six patients with an average of 1.6 previously failed cranioplasties underwent this staged technique. Average age was 33 years. Average defect size was 139 cm. Average time to procedure series completion was 14.9 months. There were no flap failures. One patient had early postoperative incisional dehiscence following PEEK implant placement that was managed by immediate scalp flap readvancement. At 21.9 month average follow-up, there were no cranioplasty failures. Three patients (50%) underwent 4 subsequent refining outpatient procedures. All patients achieved complete coverage of their craniectomy defect site with hear-bearing skin, acceptable head shape, and normalized head contour.

CONCLUSIONS: The described technique resulted in aesthetic, durable craniectomy defect reconstruction with retention of native hear-bearing scalp skin in a challenging patient population.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"