In general, cranioplasty is viewed as a straightforward surgical procedure, and for many years the complications associated with the procedure have been underestimated. We reviewed our 5-year experience consisting of 218 cranioplasties. Study outcomes focused specifically on the occurrence of complications after cranioplasty. Autologous bone-assisted and prosthetic cranioplasties were considered. Variables described by other authors to be associated with complications were studied, including history of previous cranioplasty, wider craniectomy size, bifrontal craniectomy, and delayed cranioplasty. We also analyzed the influence of material used for craniectomy on the occurrence of complications. The overall complication rate was 19.7%. Nineteen cases of infection (8.7%), 5 cases of postoperative wound dehiscence (2.3%), 6 cases of epidural hemorrhage (2.8%), and 13 cases of cranioplasty dislocation (5.9%) were observed. Bifrontal cranioplasties were more frequently associated with complications (p=0.01; Fisher's exact test) and infection (p<0.0001; Fisher's exact test). Postoperative wound dehiscence was more frequently observed with hand-made or custom-made cranioplasties compared with autologous cranioplasties (p=0.02). Early cranioplasty (<3 months from craniectomy) was significantly associated with cranioplasty dislocation (p=0.03). Logistical regression analysis showed that the only factor independently associated with complication was the site of cranioplasty (p=0.01). In particular, patients with a bifrontal cranioplasty had a 2-fold increased risk of complication (CI 95 1.1-3.6, p=0.017) and a 2.5-fold increased risk of developing infection (CI 95 1.3-4.9, p=0.009) compared with hemispheric/bihemispheric cranioplasty. Our analysis confirms that cranioplasty is burdened by a significant complication rate. In this context, bifrontal cranioplasty is related to a higher risk of complication and, in particular, infection.
- Aged, 80 and over
- Middle Aged
- Postoperative Complications
- Reconstructive Surgical Procedures
- Young Adult