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Christian A. Bowers, Jaron H. McMullin, Cameron Brimley, Linsey Etherington, Faizi A. Siddiqi and Jay Riva-Cambrin


Occasionally after a craniotomy, the bone flap is discarded (as in the case of osteomyelitis) or is resorbed (especially after trauma), and an artificial implant must be inserted in a delayed fashion. Polyetheretherketone (PEEK) implants and hard-tissue replacement patient-matched implants (HTR-PMI) are both commonly used in such cases. This study sought to compare the failure rate of these 2 implants and identify risk factors of artificial implant failure in pediatric patients.


This was a retrospective cohort study examining all pediatric patients who received PEEK or HTR-PMI cranioplasty implants from 2000 to 2013 at a single institution. The authors examined the following variables: age, sex, race, mechanism, surgeon, posttraumatic hydrocephalus, time to cranioplasty, bone gap width, and implant type. The primary outcome of interest was implant failure, defined as subsequent removal and replacement of the implant. These variables were analyzed in a bivariate statistical fashion and in a multivariate logistic regression model for the significant variables.


The authors found that 78.3% (54/69) of implants were successful. The mean patient age was 8.2 years, and a majority of patients were male (73%, 50/69); the mean follow-up for the cohort was 33.3 months. The success rate of the 41 HTR-PMI implants was 78.1%, and the success rate of the 28 PEEK implants was 78.6% (p = 0.96). Implants with a bone gap of > 6 mm were successful in 33.3% of cases, whereas implants with a gap of < 6 mm had a success rate of 82.5% (p = 0.02). In a multivariate model with custom-type implants, previous failed custom cranial implants, time elapsed from previous cranioplasty attempt, and bone gap size, the only independent risk factor for implant failure was a bone gap > 6 mm (odds ratio 8.3, 95% confidence interval 1.2–55.9).


PEEK and HTR-PMI implants appear to be equally successful when custom implantation is required. A bone gap of > 6 mm with a custom implant in children results in significantly higher artificial implant failure.

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John R. W. Kestle, Amy Lee, Richard C. E. Anderson, Barbu Gociman, Kamlesh B. Patel, Matthew D. Smyth, Craig Birgfeld, Ian F. Pollack, Jesse A. Goldstein, Mandeep Tamber, Thomas Imahiyerobo, Faizi A. Siddiqi and for the Synostosis Research Group


The authors created a collaborative network, the Synostosis Research Group (SynRG), to facilitate multicenter clinical research on craniosynostosis. To identify common and differing practice patterns within the network, they assessed the SynRG surgeons’ management preferences for sagittal synostosis. These results will be incorporated into planning cooperative studies.


The SynRG consists of 12 surgeons at 5 clinical sites. An email survey was distributed to SynRG surgeons in late 2016, and responses were collected through early 2017. Responses were collated and analyzed descriptively.


All of the surgeons—7 plastic/craniofacial surgeons and 5 neurosurgeons—completed the survey. They varied in both experience (1–24 years) and sagittal synostosis case volume in the preceding year (5–45 cases). Three sites routinely perform preoperative CT scans. The preferred surgical technique for children younger than 3 months is strip craniectomy (10/12 surgeons), whereas children older than 6 months are all treated with open cranial vault surgery. Pre-incision cefazolin, preoperative complete blood count panels, and an arterial line were used by most surgeons, but tranexamic acid was used routinely at 3 sites and never at the other 2 sites. Among surgeons performing endoscopic strip craniectomy surgery (SCS), most create a 5-cm-wide craniectomy, whereas 2 surgeons create a 2-cm strip. Four surgeons routinely send endoscopic SCS patients to the intensive care unit after surgery. Two of the 5 sites routinely obtain a CT scan within the 1st year after surgery.


The SynRG surgeons vary substantially in the use of imaging, the choice of surgical procedure and technique, and follow-up. A collaborative network will provide the opportunity to study different practice patterns, reduce variation, and contribute multicenter data on the management of children with craniosynostosis.