The growth of the neurocranium: literature review and implications in cranial repair

Abstract

Background

Postnatal growth of neurocranium is prevalently completed in the first years of life, thus deeply affecting the clinical presentation and surgical management of pediatric neurosurgical conditions involving the skull. This paper aims to review the pertinent literature on the normal growth of neurocranium and critically discuss the surgical implications of this factor in cranial repair.

Methods

A search of the electronic database of Pubmed was performed, using the key word “neurocranium growth”, thus obtaining 217 results. Forty-six papers dealing with this topic in humans, limited to the English language, were selected. After excluding a few papers dealing with viscerocranium growth or pathological conditions not related to normal neurocranium growth 18 papers were finally included into the present review.

Results and conclusions

The skull growth is very rapid in the first 2 years of life and approximates the adult volume by 7 years of age, with minimal further growth later on, which is warranted by the remodeling of the cranial bones. This factor affects the outcome of cranioplasty. Thus, it is essential to consider age in the planning phase of cranial repair, choice of the material, and critical comparison of results of different cranioplasty solutions.

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Correspondence to Paolo Frassanito.

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Frassanito, P., Bianchi, F., Pennisi, G. et al. The growth of the neurocranium: literature review and implications in cranial repair. Childs Nerv Syst 35, 1459–1465 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00381-019-04193-1

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Keywords

  • Cranial growth
  • Cranial repair
  • Cranioplasty
  • Neurocranium
  • Precision medicine
  • Skull growth