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Arch Craniofac Surg. 2015 Apr;16(1):11-16. English. Original Article.
Cho HR , Roh TS , Shim KW , Kim YO , Lew DH , Yun IS .
Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Institute for Human Tissue Restoration, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Neurosurgery, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.

BACKGROUND: Source material used to fill calvarial defects includes autologous bones and synthetic alternatives. While autologous bone is preferable to synthetic material, autologous reconstruction is not always feasible due to defect size, unacceptable donor-site morbidity, and other issues. Today, advanced three-dimensional (3D) printing techniques allow for fabrication of titanium implants customized to the exact need of individual patients with calvarial defects. In this report, we present three cases of calvarial reconstructions using 3D-printed porous titanium implants. METHODS: From 2013 through 2014, three calvarial defects were repaired using custommade 3D porous titanium implants. The defects were due either to traumatic subdural hematoma or to meningioma and were located in parieto-occipital, fronto-temporo-parietal, and parieto-temporal areas. The implants were prepared using individual 3D computed tomography (CT) data, Mimics software, and an electron beam melting machine. For each patient, several designs of the implant were evaluated against 3D-printed skull models. All three cases had a custom-made 3D porous titanium implant laid on the defect and rigid fixation was done with 8 mm screws. RESULTS: The custom-made 3D implants fit each patient's skull defect precisely without any dead space. The operative site healed without any specific complications. Postoperative CTs revealed the implants to be in correct position. CONCLUSION: An autologous graft is not a feasible option in the reconstruction of large calvarial defects. Ideally, synthetic materials for calvarial reconstruction should be easily applicable, durable, and strong. In these aspects, a 3D titanium implant can be an optimal source material in calvarial reconstruction.

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