The therapeutic effect of patient-specific implants in cranioplasty

J Craniomaxillofac Surg. 2017 Jan;45(1):82-86. doi: 10.1016/j.jcms.2016.10.016. Epub 2016 Nov 2.


Objective: Patient specific implants have been used for the reconstruction of large skull bone defects. Several therapeutic effects have been suggested in current literature but were never objectified. The aim of the current study was to evaluate the change in quality of life, pain, aesthetics, and the surgical and medical outcomes after reconstruction of large skull bone defects with titanium or polyetheretherketone (PEEK) implants.

Methods: We retrospectively evaluated 29 consecutive patients receiving a patient specific skull implant between November 2004 and December 2015. Twenty-one patients received PEEK implants and eight received titanium implants. Data was acquired regarding quality of life, aesthetics, pain, demographics and complications. Quality of life was measured using the Glasgow Benefit Inventory (GBI). Additional questions were asked concerning pain, satisfaction and aesthetics.

Results: The mean total GBI-score was +26.1 (95%CI 16.8-35.4, p < 0.001). Headache complaints or pain in the operation site improved in 75.0% and 77.8% of these patients, respectively. In 8.0% an increase was seen with regard to both variables.

Conclusion: Reconstruction of skull bone defects with PEEK and titanium patient specific implants gave a statistically significant improvement in quality of life. Furthermore, it decreased pain and headaches and gave aesthetically good results.

Keywords: Cranioplasty; Headache; Implants; Polyetheretherketone; Quality of life; Titanium.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Esthetics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ketones
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain, Postoperative / etiology
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • Prostheses and Implants*
  • Quality of Life
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Skull / surgery*
  • Titanium
  • Young Adult


  • Ketones
  • polyetheretherketone
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • Titanium