Management of Cranial Bone Defects: A Reconstructive Algorithm According to Defect Size

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Reconstruction of cranial bone defects is one of the most challenging problems in reconstructive surgery. The timing of reconstruction, the location of the defect, the materials to be used, and the medical history of the patient are parameters that have been mostly discussed in the literature. To the best of our knowledge, there has not been any published classification for the cranial bone defect reconstruction according to defect size.

Materials and Methods

Twelve patients underwent reconstruction of cranial vault defects. Cranial bone defects were classified into 3 groups according to the size of the defect. The small-sized group included the defects smaller than 25 cm2, the medium-sized group included the defects between 25 to 200 cm2, and the large-sized group included the defects larger than 200 cm2. The small-sized defects were reconstructed with split calvarial graft, demineralized bone matrix, or hydroxyapatite cement; the medium-sized defects were reconstructed with split calvarial graft or allogenic bone graft; and the large-sized defects were reconstructed with methyl methacrylate, autoclaved bone, or porous polyethylene.


Two patients needed revision for irregularities with demineralized bone matrix. Other patients had no skull defects or irregularities for which revision was suggested.


We believe that the size of the defect is important for the reconstruction of cranial vault defects and that using a standard algorithm can increase the success rate.

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