, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 243-246
Date: 02 Feb 2007

Deep-freeze preservation of cranial bones for future cranioplasty: nine years of experience in Soroka University Medical Center

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Decompressive craniectomy is routinely performed in many neurosurgical centers to treat intracranial hypertension refractory to medical therapy as a result of head trauma, CVA or various brain tumors. When the patient survives his illness, cranioplasty with autologous bone graft or other reconstructive materials is considered to repair the skull defect.


This prospective study reviews the cases of decompressive craniectomies followed by later cranioplasty undertaken at our institute through the years 1996 and 2005 and describes the method used for preservation of removed bone flaps for future cranioplasty.

Subjects and methods

Sixty-eight patients underwent decompressive craniectomies since 1996. A protocol was designed to prepare the removed bone flaps for deep freeze preservation. After removal, the bone flaps were transferred to the skin bank at our institution within 6 h, gently rinsed using 1–3 liters of sterile saline (0.9% NaCl) supplemented with antibiotics (neomycin, 2 mM) with no dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO), then flaps were wrapped in two layers of sterile plastic coverage and preserved at −80°C.


The patient’s population will be presented. Since 1996 we have performed 12 cranioplasties using deep-freeze preserved autologous bone graft. It took a rather long learning period, beginning with a single patient per year and continued with several others. Up to now, no case of infection, osteomyelitis or bone resorption following cranioplasty have occurred.


Deep-freeze preservation of autologous bone grafts to reconstruct skull defects after decompressive craniectomy is a useful procedure and has a low revision rate.