INTRODUCTION: Patients requiring cranioplasty reconstruction with customized cranial implants may unexpectedly present with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks and durotomies following previous neurosurgical procedures. As such, multiple factors influence the type of dural reconstruction chosen at this time, which are essential for achieving long-term success. Overall, the most common material used for duraplasty is currently an "off-the-shelf" xenograft construct. However, some believe that they are not suitable for large-sized defects and accompany a higher incident of complications. Therefore, based on our success and experience with scalp augmentation using rectus fascia grafts, the authors herein present our preliminary experience with duraplasty using autologous rectus fascia grafts (ARFGs). METHODS: A retrospective review of our database, consisting of 437 cranial reconstructions from 2012 to 2017, was performed under institutional review board approval. Selection criteria included all adult patients (n = 6) requiring dural reconstruction (duraplasty) with ARF grafting for an active CFS leak with concomitant skull defect. Cadaver study and patient illustrations are also presented to demonstrate clinical applicability. All outcomes, including complications, were reviewed and are presented here. RESULTS: A total of 6 patients underwent autologous duraplasty with either unilateral or bilateral ARFGs. All patients (6/6) of large-sized (>3 cm) defect repair with ARFGs were indicated for repair of secondary CSF leaks following previous craniotomy by neurosurgery. To date, none have demonstrated recurrent leaking and/or dura-related complications. At this time, all 6 patients were reconstructed using customized cranial implants with a mean follow-up of 10 months. CONCLUSION: Based on our preliminary experience presented here, the use of rectus fascia grafts for autologous dural reconstruction appears to be both safe and reliable. This new technique adds another tool to the neurosurgical armamentarium by reducing the additional risk of "off-the-shelf" dural substitutes.
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