Vacuum-assisted closure for complex cranial wounds involving the loss of dura mater.

Journal of Neurosurgery

PubMedID: 23157181

Powers AK, Neal MT, Argenta LC, Wilson JA, DeFranzo AJ, Tatter SB. Vacuum-assisted closure for complex cranial wounds involving the loss of dura mater. J Neurosurg. 2013;118(2):302-8.
The aim in this study was to describe the safety and efficacy of vacuum-assisted closure (VAC) in patients with complex cranial wounds with extensive scalp, bone, and dural defects who were not candidates for immediate free tissue transfer. Five patients (4 men and 1 woman) ages 24-73 years with complex cranial wounds were treated with VAC at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Etiologies included trauma, squamous cell carcinoma, and malignant meningioma. Cutaneous wound defects measured as large as 15 cm in diameter. Four of the 5 patients had open skull defects with concomitant dural defects, and 1 patient had dural dehiscence. After surgical debridement, all 5 patients were treated with the direct application of a VAC device to a reapproximated dura mater (1 patient), to a pericranial flap (1 patient), or to a regenerative tissue matrix overlying CNS tissue (3 patients). In all cases involving open cranial wounds, the VAC device promoted granulation tissue formation over the dural substitute, prevented CSF leakage, and kept the wounds free from local infection. The duration of VAC therapy ranged from 16 to 91 days. Although VAC therapy was intended as a temporary measure until these patients could be stabilized for larger tissue transfer procedures or they succumbed to their primary pathology, 1 patient had a successful skin graft following VAC therapy. Hydrocephalus requiring shunt placement developed in 2 patients during VAC therapy. The VAC dressings applied to a tissue matrix or other barrier over brain tissue in extensive cranial wounds are safe and well tolerated, providing a functional barrier and preventing infection.