For repair of cranial vault (skull) defects, alloplastic (methylmethacrylate or titanium mesh) techniques may result in nonhealing or infectious complications and autogenous (split rib or calvarial) techniques may result in excessive blood loss or donor-site morbidity. Osteogenic factors such as bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2) provide promising alternatives for repairing bone defects. As a new option for this reconstructive challenge, we investigated by using a bilaminar resorbable construct made from computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing computed tomographic scan technology with BMP-2 in hopes of providing initial structural support for the skull, followed by bone healing without permanent foreign body problems.Methods
Outcomes of consecutive adult patients with long-standing critical-sized cranial vault defects who underwent cranial vault reconstruction between 1999 and 2010 were studied (n = 69). Reconstructive options were titanium mesh, cryopreserved bone, patient-specific implants, autogenous (split calvarial), and a new bilaminar resorbable mesh construct sandwiched with BMP-2. These reconstructive options were compared for operating room time, blood loss, complications, reoperations, and bone healing (3-dimensional computed tomographic scans).Results
Defects in the group were similar, 92 cm2 (60–176 cm2). The autogenous bone group had the longest operating room time (1.1 times longer than the BMP-2 construct group) and the greatest blood loss (1.5 times more than the BMP-2 construct group). Perioperative complications and reoperation rates were lower in autogenous bone (5%) and BMP-2 construct groups (14%) when compared with alloplastic groups (22%–36%). Bone healing was superior with BMP-2 construct and autogenous bone (85%; 90%) versus cryopreserved bone (18%) and minimal healing for alloplastic.Conclusions
In select cases, a customized bilaminar resorbable construct with BMP-2 resulted in improved bone healing with fewer complications than alloplastic options and without the morbidity and blood loss associated with autogenous bone grafting. This allowed critically sized calvarial defects in adults to be successfully corrected with no residual foreign body.