Long-term clinical outcome analysis of poly-methyl-methacrylate cranioplasty for large skull defects

Joby Jaberi, Kenneth Gambrell, Paul Tiwana, Chris Madden, Rick Finn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


Purpose: The goal of secondary cranioplasty is permanent cerebral protection in an esthetically acceptable fashion. Reconstruction of cranial defects can be performed with several different materials. Alloplastic materials, such as preformed methyl-methacrylate (PMMA) cranioplasties, are an alternative frequently used at our institution. This retrospective analysis was designed to review the outcomes of PMMA cranioplasty for skull defect reconstruction. Materials and Methods: Seventy consecutive patients who had 78 PMMA cranioplasties placed from 2003 through 2010 were identified. Mechanism of injury, location of cranioplasty, type of original repair, postoperative complications, and follow-up time were reviewed. Results: Of the 70 patients, 6 patients had failure and removal of their original PMMA cranioplasty and reinsertion of another, and 2 patients had failure and removal of 2 cranioplasties with replacement of a third, creating a total of 78 PMMA cranioplasties placed. The predominant mechanism of injury was trauma (64%). The most frequent postoperative complication was infection (13%). With the exception of the 2 patients with implant exposure, no patients reported an unacceptable cosmetic result. An overall complication rate of 24% was seen. Conclusions: The results of previous studies have shown that infection and complication rates of cranioplasties accomplished with bone cement are substantially higher, that titanium-based implants may obscure follow-up imaging for tumor patients, and that the outcomes regarding hydroxyapatite-based ceramics, although similar to PMMA, are associated with a much higher cost. PMMA remains a cost-effective and proven method to repair cranial defects that fulfills the goals of cranial reconstruction for skull defects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e81-e88
JournalJournal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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