Is A Split Cranial Bone Graft For Forehead Reconstruction Safe?

Q: Dr. Eppley, my 14 year-old son had his foreheasd bone fractured in an accident this past April 2012 . The bone was removed by the doctor then and he now now needs reconstruction of that part. The place is between both eyes with a size of size of 7cm length and 5.5 cms width. The doctor here is saying they will take out a piece of bone from the front table of head bone and put that on. Is it safe? I need your view.

A:What are you are referring to is reconstruction of the forehead with a split calvarial bone graft. That is certainly one accepted cranioplasty method to do the reconstruction and is the only natural or autologous method. It is a well known craniofacial surgical technique and is very safe if done in experienced hands. Given that it is a full thickness frontal bone defect, the size is not too big (7 x 5 cms) and he is only 14 years of age, this is probably the best approach. His skull should be thick enough that the outer table can be removed elsewhere on the skull in a single piece and moved to cover the forehead defect. There are numerous alternative methods that are technically easier such as titanium mesh and hydroxyapatite combinations as well as custom HTR cranial implants, which are also acceptable methods, but the cranial bone graft for his size defect should work well. This is particularly important of the frontal sinuses have been exposed in the defect, which I suspect that they have.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana