The use of frozen autogenous bone flaps in delayed cranioplasty revisited

Toru Iwama, Jun Yamada, Syu Imai, Jun Shinoda, Takashi Funakoshi, Noboru Sakai, Laligam N. Sekhar, Dinko Stimac, Marc P. Sindou, Stephen J. Haines, Takeshi Kawase

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

140 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To reevaluate the use of frozen autogenous bone flaps for patients undergoing delayed cranioplasty. METHODS: In the past 12 years, 49 patients have undergone delayed cranioplasty using frozen autogenous bone flaps. Bone flaps removed during the initial operation were sealed in three sterilized vinyl bags and stored at -35°C (n = 37) or -84°C (n = 12) for 4 to 168 days (mean, 50.6 d). The bone flaps were thawed at room temperature and replaced in their original positions. After cranioplasty, we monitored resorption of the bone flaps with computed tomography and evaluated the clinical and aesthetic results. Follow-up periods ranged from 14 to 147 months (mean, 59.2 mo). RESULTS: For 47 patients (95.9%), there were no complications during the follow-up period; there was slight thinning of the bone flap in some cases, but clinical and aesthetic results were highly satisfactory. Resorption was observed for a 12-year-old boy who had undergone cranioplasty, using two pieces of bone flap, 66 days after the initial operation. A 14-year-old boy with a cerebral contusion experienced a bone flap infection. Both patients underwent a second cranioplasty procedure, with ceramic plates. CONCLUSION: The clinical and aesthetic results of delayed cranioplasty using frozen autogenous bone flaps were satisfactory. The most important factor for success was excellent contiguity between the flap and the bone edge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)591-596
Number of pages6
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Cranioplasty
  • Frozen autogenous bone flap
  • Infection
  • Resorption


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