Outcomes of Titanium Mesh Cranioplasty in Pediatric Patients

Irene T Ma, Melissa R Symon, Ruth E Bristol, Stephen P Beals, Edward F Joganic, P David Adelson, David H Shafron, Davinder J Singh
Journal of Craniofacial Surgery 2018, 29 (1): 99-104

PURPOSE: Cranial defects in children have been repaired with various materials ranging from autologous bone to synthetic materials. There is little published literature on the outcomes of titanium mesh cranioplasty (TMC) in calvarial reconstruction in the pediatric population. This study evaluates a pediatric cohort who underwent calvarial defect reconstruction with titanium mesh and assesses the efficacy and outcomes of TMC.

METHODS: An Institutional Review Board approved retrospective review of patients ≤18 years of age who underwent cranioplasty from 1999 to 2014 at 2 centers was performed. The cohort undergoing TMC was studied.

RESULTS: A total of 159 cranioplasties were performed. Autologous reconstruction included 84 bone flap replacements and 36 split calvarial bone graft reconstructions. Six patients underwent PEEK implant reconstruction. Titanium mesh cranioplasty was performed on 33 patients. Two patients underwent 2 separate cranioplasties. The median age of patients was 6 years (19 months to 18 years). The most common underlying etiologies were congenital syndromes/craniosynostosis (13 patients), and trauma (11). The majority of patients had prior cranial surgeries (85%). Various types of titanium mesh were used with sizes ranging from 2×3 cm to 19×20 cm, with some patients requiring distinct areas of defect reconstruction. Perioperative complications were noted in 2 patients that subsequently improved. Two patients had late soft tissue problems with complications of wound infections requiring resection of a portion of the mesh. Patients were followed an average of 4 years (range 13 days to 6.8 years), with 2 patients lost to follow-up. Overall, all patients with follow-up achieved a cranial contour with good symmetry to the unaffected side, as well as effective protection to the brain.

CONCLUSIONS: Titanium mesh cranioplasty is an effective option for correcting pediatric cranial defects when autologous bone availability is limited and soft tissue coverage allows placement of an implant. The interim outcome for these patients is favorable with few complications and no evidence of growth restriction in the authors' series. Follow-up will be ongoing for these patients.

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