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*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

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 cm2. 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 hearbearing scalp skin in a challenging patient population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1971-1977
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Craniofacial Surgery
Volume27
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Alloplast
  • CAD/CAM
  • Craniectomy
  • Cranioplasty
  • Free tissue transfer
  • Latissimus dorsi
  • Muscle flap

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