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Korean J Neurotrauma. 2012 Apr;8(1):21-25. Korean. Original Article.
Lee BS , Min KS , Lee MS , Kim YG , Kim DH .
Department of Neurosurgery, Chungbuk National University Hospital, Chungbuk National University College of Medicine, Cheongju, Korea.

OBJECTIVE: After decompressive craniectomy was performed in patients with severe brain swelling, we were able to preserve autologous bone flap as freeze-preserved state or within abdominal subcutaneous tissue. The aim of this study was to compare the freeze-preservation with the subcutaneous abdominal preservation regarding the effectiveness and safety. METHODS: The clinical data of 53 patients who underwent decompressive craniectomy with autologous bone flap cranioplasty in our department were studied retrospectively. 43 patients underwent cranial reconstruction using autologous bone flap stored in deep freezer. In 10 patients cranioplasty was performed to repair bone defect using autologous bone flap preserved in subcutaneous abdomen. The analysis included the rates of infection, bone absorption and other complications and operation time to compare these two methods. RESULTS: Cranioplasty using deep-freezing bone flap showed a low infection rate (2.3%), low bone absorption (2.3%) and no cosmetic problem. The average time of operation is 146 minutes. Cranioplasty using a bone flap banked in the patient's abdominal wall revealed no case of complications. The average time of operation is 130 minutes. The longer period the bone flap was preserved for, the longer time the operation took in both methods. CONCLUSION: This study may be worth considering that both methods of cryoconservation and subcutaneous abdominal preservetion are feasible for the repair of skull defect although abdominal preservation seems to show better result a little. If the deep-freezer is not available, a bone flap banked in the patient's abdominal wall can be used.

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