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JianMing Luo, Bin Liu, ZeYu Xie, Shan Ding, ZeRui Zhuang, Lan Lin, YanChun Guo, Hui Chen and Xiaojun Yu

Object

The object of this study was to compare the effects and complications of manual and computer-aided shaping of titanium meshes for repairing large frontotemporoparietal skull defects following traumatic brain injury.

Methods

From March 2005 to June 2011, 161 patients with frontotemporoparietal skull defects were observed. Patients were divided into 2 groups according to the repair materials used for cranioplasty: 83 cases used computer-aided shaping for the titanium mesh, whereas the remaining 78 cases used a manually shaped titanium mesh. The advantages and disadvantages of the 2 methods were compared.

Results

No case of titanium mesh loosening occurred in either group. Subcutaneous fluid collection, titanium mesh tilt, and temporal muscle pain were the most common complications. In the manually shaped group, there were 14 cases of effusion, 10 cases of titanium mesh tilt, and 15 cases of temporal muscle pain. In the computer-aided group, there were 6 cases of effusion, 3 cases of titanium mesh tilt, and 6 cases of temporal muscle pain. The differences were significant between the 2 groups (p < 0.05). Other common complications were scalp infection, exposure of titanium mesh, epidural hematoma, and seizures. In the computer-aided group, the operative time decreased (p < 0.01), the number of screws used was reduced (p < 0.01), and the satisfaction of patients was significantly increased (p < 0.05).

Conclusions

Computer-aided shaping of titanium mesh for repairing large frontotemporoparietal skull defects decreases postoperative complications and the operative duration, reduces the number of screws used, increases the satisfaction of patients, and restores the appearance of the patient's head, making it an ideal choice for cranioplasty.