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August 1994

Safe and Dependable Harvesting of Large Outer-Table Calvarial Bone Grafts

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Otolaryngology, State University of New York Health Science Center, New York.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1994;120(8):856-860. doi:10.1001/archotol.1994.01880320058013

A review of a new technique for the harvesting of split (outer-table) calvarial bone grafts is presented. The use of calvarial bone grafts for facial reconstructive surgery has become more commonplace in recent years. Low donor site morbidity and availability of adequate amounts of membranous bone in close proximity to the facial surgical site make its use particularly desirable. Unfortunately, the occasional complications associated with the harvesting of these grafts can be severe, including dural tears and/or hemorrhage from a dural sinus, as well as late hematomas and meningitis. The technique herein described involves the use of a long malleable blade in a reciprocating saw. The malleability of the blade allows it to conform to the shape of the skull while elevating split grafts almost as wide as the blade is long. Twenty separate grafts were harvested in 18 patients. The largest measured 7×10 cm. The grafts were further contoured after harvesting and used in 37 sites. No grafts splintered, and no donor site complications were encountered. While care must of course be exercised with any technique, this one is believed to be a safe and dependable method for the harvesting of split calvarial grafts for facial reconstruction. (Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1994;120:856-860)

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