Evaluation in cats of a new material for cranioplasty: a composite of plaster of Paris and hydroxylapatite

J Neurosurg. 1988 Aug;69(2):269-75. doi: 10.3171/jns.1988.69.2.0269.


The materials ordinarily used to reconstruct bone defects in the calvaria and facial bones either are difficult to shape, are partially resorbed by the body, or are likely to become infected if used near a contaminated area such as the frontal sinus. Calcium sulfate hemihydrate (plaster of Paris) has been known for years to have excellent reparative qualities in bone defects, but ordinarily it is quickly resorbed. Consequently, a new material, a composite of a dense form of plaster of Paris and hydroxylapatite, was devised to provide nonabsorbable hydroxylapatite particles for bone to form around and within during the phase of plaster absorption. Two types of this material were evaluated in cranial defects in cats. Each of the plaster of Paris/hydroxylapatite mixtures was placed into a surgically unroofed frontal sinus and into a contralateral parietal trephine hole in a group of 32 cats. Two cats in each group succumbed to anesthesia, leaving two sets of 30 cats. During the entire follow-up period there was only one other death, with no evidence of wound infection, wound dehiscence, implant rejection, or cerebral dysfunction among the survivors. The cats in each group were sacrificed at 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, or 12 months after operation. Following sacrifice, both the frontal and parietal defects were exposed and examined visually, histologically, and with histomorphometric analysis for new bone formation. New bone formation was present as early as 1 month after operation and continued to increase during the 12 months of the study. Based upon these osteogenic qualities, the ease of shaping the composite, and the lack of infection in the frontal sinus region, it is concluded that this substance could be a valuable new material for human cranioplasty.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium Sulfate / therapeutic use*
  • Cats
  • Durapatite
  • Female
  • Hydroxyapatites / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Skull / surgery*


  • Hydroxyapatites
  • Durapatite
  • Calcium Sulfate