INTRODUCTION: Pansynostosis can result in markedly thin calvarial bone resulting in poor quality and quantity of allograft for cranial vault expansion. Such scenarios can result in large calvarial defects and poorly stabilized constructs. Additionally, the osteoinductive properties of neonatal dura and paracranium in cranial vault reconstruction suggest the possibility of reconstructing extensive calvarial defects using minimal native calvarium given the appropriate scaffold. We report a case of subtotal cranial vault remodeling involving greater than 50% of the cranial vault using a custom poly DL lactic acid (Sonic Weld) resorbable plate construct and underlay calvarial bone grafting.
METHODS: A 4-month-old male infant presented with a diagnosis of Cruzon syndrome and pansynostosis. Staged reconstruction was performed with the initial stage involving the posterior and middle cranial vault. Given the severity of the deformity, the native cranial bone was thinned with multiple defects such that it could not be used to provide structural integrity or sufficient surface coverage for cranial vault reconstruction. Useable bone comprised only a fraction of the surface area required to expand the posterior and midcranium. Resorbable poly DL lactic acid (Sonic Weld) plates were used to create a custom construct for reconstruction of the posterior and middle cranial vault. The construct was then seeded with usable fragments of the native calvarium and secured to the cranial base with resorbable pins.
RESULTS: The construct resulted in maintained cranial shape throughout the postoperative period. Postoperative computed tomography imaging demonstrated osteogenesis throughout the construct with bridging of the fragmented calvarial grafts. Examination of the construct during anterior cranial vault remodeling demonstrated near complete resorption of the construct, stable posterior cranial vault, and minimal dural adhesions to the posterior cranium. At 11 months postoperatively, the patient continues to demonstrate appropriate cranial expansion and maintenance of posterior cranial shape.
CONCLUSIONS: Fully resorbable constructs can provide effective structural support and a scaffold for osteogenisis in conjunction with minimal native calvarial bone grafts during reconstruction of large cranial vault defects in the infantile period.
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