Autologous Calvarial Bone Remodeling Technique for Small to Medium-Sized Cranial Defects in Young Children: The "switch-Cranioplasty" Technique

Sonal Jain, Shelly Wang, Carolina Sandoval-Garcia, George M. Ibrahim, Walker L. Robinson, John Ragheb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Introduction: Reconstruction of cranial defects in children less than 2 years of age, particularly when there is an associated dural defect, is challenging due to the need to accommodate active skull growth, limited options for autologous bone graft and thin calvarial bones. We use a simple remodeling technique that exploits the normal dura's inherent potential for new bone growth while covering the dural defect with adjacent skull. Case Presentation: We describe an alternating, two-piece craniotomy or "switch-cranioplasty technique"to repair an occipital meningocele. The two pieces of craniotomy bone flap created around the existing skull and dural defect are switched in the horizontal plane in order to cover the site of the defect and the abnormal dura of the meningocele closure. The area of the original skull defect is transposed laterally over the normal dura. The healing of the lateral skull defects is facilitated with autologous bone chips and dust and covered by periosteal flaps that stimulate spontaneous re-ossification. Discussion: The advantages of this technique are the use of autologous bone adjacent to the skull defect, incorporation of the autologous bone into the growing skull, an acceptable cosmetic and functional outcome in a simple manner. The indications can be extended to include small to medium-sized calvarial defects secondary to leptomeningeal cyst and trauma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)248-253
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Neurosurgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2021

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