Neuropsychological changes and cranioplasty: A group analysis

Cristina Di Stefano, Maria Luisa Rinaldesi, Cristina Quinquinio, Chiara Ridolfi, Massimo Vallasciani, Carmelo Sturiale, Roberto Piperno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Cranioplasty is the surgical answer to cranial defect due to decompressive craniectomy in order to increase patients safety and for cosmetic reasons. Two main neurological sequelae of skull breaches have been described and cranioplasty has been suggested as a way to treat these neurological symptoms, but its effects on cognitive and motor functions are still unclear.Materials and methods: In order to better elucidate if and to what extent the cranioplasty affects the whole array of cognitive functions or just some specific domains, 29 patients were studied pre- and post-cranioplasty, with structured assessments of memory, attention, language and executive functioning performed ∼ 4 months and 1 month before cranioplasty and 1 month and 6 months after surgery.Results and conclusion: Cranioplasty affects the cognitive profile with a non-specific pattern of change. Timing of the cranioplasty plays a key role to enucleate cognitive improvement, indeed greater cognitive changes were seen in patients who had cranioplasty within 6 months following the injury. Thus, cranioplasty must be considered a key factor in neuropsychological recovery and should be performed as soon as possible following the injury in order to take advantage of the window of opportunity for rehabilitation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-171
Number of pages8
JournalBrain Injury
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 28 2016


  • Clinical improvement
  • Cognitive changes
  • Cranioplasty
  • Decompressive craniectomy
  • Neuropsychological improvement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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