OBJECTIVES: After reading this article, the participant should be able to: Understand the etiology of cranial defects. Understand the anatomy of the cranium. Understand the importance of the preoperative workup in the cranial reconstruction decision-making process. Describe the options available for calvarial reconstruction including autologous and alloplastic materials. Describe the basic differences between available alloplastic materials. Understand the intraoperative and postoperative complications that may arise during cranioplasty. SUMMARY: Cranial defects can arise from a variety of causes, yielding a diverse group of patients who require cranioplasty. The goals of calvarial reconstruction are to protect the underlying brain, to restore the aesthetic contour of the calvarium, and/or to treat postcraniectomy cerebrospinal fluid circulation abnormalities that may be symptomatic. Options for calvarial reconstruction include the autogenous bone flap that was removed for access, autologous bone grafting, and a variety of alloplastic materials such as titanium, hydroxyapatite, polymethylmethacrylate, polyether ether ketone, and high-density porous polyethylene. A detailed preoperative workup and discussion with the patient is important to choosing the appropriate reconstructive path.
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