Major advancements have been made in the field of cranioplasty or skull replacement surgery. Patients who have undergone temporary (craniotomy) or permanent removal (craniectomy) of skull bone require replacement. Without reconstruction, patients are at high risk for brain damage related to falls or pressure on the brain. It is also important to repair the missing skull to provide symmetry and improve appearance. Definitive cranioplasty is also necessary to minimize the risk of Syndrome of the Trephined, a rare phenomenon that may compromise a patient’s recovery and neurologic function after undergoing neurological procedures.
When Is Skull Replacement Necessary?
Common indications for skull reconstruction include patients with intracranial aneurysms and tumors, and bone removal for infection and tumors. In patients who have failed previous reconstruction, revision cranioplasty may require scalp surgery to correct wounds or improve the likelihood of lasting repair. Dr. Ellis frequently performs these procedures in conjunction with surgeons from Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Department of Neurosurgery, which is nationally recognized for its excellence and comprehensive care.
What Does Skull Replacement Surgery Entail?
Dr. Marco Ellis has worked with industry experts to advance the field of cranioplasty for patients who have undergone neurosurgical procedures. State-of-the-art skull reconstruction is a multi-step process that begins with repeat CT imaging, manufacturing an individually-customized implant, and surgery. The cranioplasty procedure focuses on recreating the bony defect, use of mini-titanium plates and screws to keep the implant fixated, and lastly, wound closure to minimize infection and poor healing. Implants have been designed to maintain their structural integrity indefinitely, cause little irritation to the overlying scalp, resist infection and avoid interference with CT and MRI imaging.