OBJECTIVE: Cranioplasty is a reconstructive procedure used to restore skull anatomy and repair skull defects. Optimal skull reconstruction is a challenge for neurosurgeons, and the strategy used to achieve the best result remains a topic of debate, especially in pediatric patients for whom the continuing skull growth makes the choice of material more difficult. When the native bone flap, which is universally accepted as the preferred option in pediatric patients, is unavailable, the authors' choice of prosthetic material is a polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) implant designed using a custom-made technique. In this paper the authors present the results of their clinical series of 12 custom-made PMMA implants in pediatric patients. METHODS: A retrospective study of the patients who had undergone cranioplasty at Gaslini Children's Hospital between 2006 and 2013 was conducted. A total of 12 consecutive cranioplasties in 12 patients was reviewed, in which a patientspecific PMMA implant was manufactured using a virtual 3D model and then transformed into a physical model using selective laser sintering or 3D printing. All patients or parents were administered a questionnaire to assess how the patient/parent judged the aesthetic result. RESULTS: Patient age at craniectomy ranged from 5 months to 12.5 years, with a mean age of 84.33 months at cranioplasty. The mean extension of the custom-made plastic was 56.83 cm2. The mean time between craniectomy and cranioplasty was 9.25 months. The mean follow-up duration was 55.7 months. No major complications were recorded; 3 patients experienced minor/moderate complications (prosthesis dislocation, granuloma formation, and fluid collection). CONCLUSIONS: In this patient series, PMMA resulted in an extremely low complication rate and the custom-made technique was associated with an excellent grade of patient or parent satisfaction on long-term follow up.
- Custom-made technique
- Pediatric reconstructive surgery
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health