ERODE:A private hospital here conducted a rare artificial skull implant surgery on a five year old girl.
According to the KMCH Hospital neurosurgeon Dr M Prabhu, Thayasri, daughter of Sakthi Prakash (27) of Kalingarayanpalayam, near Bavani, met with an accident on Nov 2, 2014 while traveling on a motorcycle with Balasubramaniam, a relative.
When a van hit the motorcycle, Thayasri suffered serious head injury with skull bone fracture. Normally, a part of the skull would be removed to avoid infection from spreading to the brain and to allow space for the injured brain to heal.
As she was a child and the fractured skull was disfigured, both she and her parents had to be handled carefully. Hence there was a compelling need to consider not only corrective surgery but also cosmetic and protective aspects, said the neurosurgeon.
The specialist decided on a special type of skull bone implant called PEEK (Polyether Ether Ketone).
PEEK has several advantages. It is durable, has shape memory properties (where the material given shape under specific conditions will retain it even if were subjected to stress) and is aesthetically pleasing.
Traditional methods for reconstructing the skull anatomy involved bone grafts or other implants like metal or titanium. But the disadvantages were inaccurate fits, increased surgical time and infection risks.
Cranial implants made of PEEK (which only recently made its way into orthopaedic surgery) are stronger, lighter and bio-compatible, making it an alternative to titanium.
With precise customization and better fit these implants required less time in surgery and provided greater comfort to the patient.
Thayasri’s head was scanned to measure the contour of the broken skull accurately and the details were sent to Switzerland for fabrication of the implant.
Once the implant arrived, the girl was operated on for inserting it in place. The implant has provided the required geometry and precision to obtain appropriate skull and facial reconstruction.
She has recovered well and is back to school with a renewed life, the neurosurgeon added.