Salvage of postcranioplasty implant exposure using free tissue transfer

Pang Yun Chou, Cheng Hung Lin, Chung Chen Hsu, Wei Hsun Yang, Alex A. Kane, Chih Hung Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Refractory implant exposure is frustrating after cranioplasty. The purpose of this study was for the authors to present their experience with free tissue transfer for salvage of postcranioplasty implant exposure. Methods: A retrospective medical chart review was conducted on all free tissue transfers performed for exposed implant coverage after cranioplasty between January 2004 and February 2016. Results: Twelve free flaps were performed in 11 patients who underwent postcranioplasty with implant exposure, and whose attempted implant coverage using locoregional flaps had failed. The free flaps used included anterolateral thigh flap, radial forearm flap, anteromedial thigh and rectus femoris chimeric flap, latissimus dorsi flap, gracilis flap, and Juri flap. The flap survival rate was 100%, and 10 of 11 implants (91%) were salvaged without removal. Conclusions: Free tissue transfer should be considered as the preferred reconstructive option for postcranioplasty exposed implant salvage. High rate of implant salvage (>90%) is possible even with chronic implant exposure (>3 months).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1655-1661
Number of pages7
JournalHead and Neck
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2017


  • cranioplasty failure
  • free flaps
  • implant exposure
  • local flaps
  • scalp ulcer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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