Clinical outcomes in cranioplasty: Risk factors and choice of reconstructive material

Sashank Reddy, Saami Khalifian, José M. Flores, Justin Bellamy, Paul N. Manson, Eduardo D. Rodriguez, Amir H. Dorafshar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Continuing advances in cranioplasty have enabled repair of increasingly complicated cranial defects. However, the optimal materials and approaches for particular clinical scenarios remain unclear. This study examines outcomes following cranioplasty for a variety of indications in patients treated with alloplastic material, autogenous tissue, or a combination of both. METHODS: THE AUTHORS CONDUCTED: a retrospective analysis on 180 patients who had 195 cranioplasties performed between 1993 and 2010. RESULTS: Materials used for cranioplasty included alloplastic for 42.6 percent (83 of 195), autologous for 19.0 percent (37 of 195), and both combined for 38.5 percent (75 of 195). Mean defect size was 70.5 cm2. A subset of patients had undergone previous irradiation (12.2 percent; 22 of 180) or had preoperative infections (30.6 percent; 55 of 180). The most common complication was postoperative infection (15.9 percent; 31 of 195). Factors that significantly predisposed to complications included preoperative radiation, previous infection, and frontal location. Preoperative radiation was the strongest predictor of having any postoperative complications, with an adjusted odds ratio of 6.91 (p < 0.005). Irradiated patients (OR, 7.96; p < 0.05) and patients undergoing frontal cranioplasties (OR, 2.83; p < 0.05) were more likely to require repeated operation. Preoperative infection predisposed patients to exposure of hardware in alloplastic reconstructions (OR, 3.13; p < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Despite the evolution of cranioplasty techniques and materials, complications are not uncommon. The choice of reconstructive material may modify the risk of developing postoperative complications but appears less important than the clinical history in affecting outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)864-873
Number of pages10
JournalPlastic and reconstructive surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Clinical outcomes in cranioplasty: Risk factors and choice of reconstructive material'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this