Preservation of Nonviable Cranial Bone after Class IV Electrical Burns

Norma I. Cruz, Fanor M. Saavedra


Background: It has been suggested that preservation of nonviable cranial bone is possible in some selected cases in the absence of infection. Methods: A series of ten male patients, mean age 29±7 with severe electrical scalp burns and nonviable cranial bone were managed conservatively. The patients were treated initially by soft-tissue debridement until the wound presented viable, clean margins. At 22±6 days after the burn, multiple burr holes were made in the nonviable bone, and the defect immediately covered with a well vascularized scalp flap. Each patient’s progress was documented during the hospital stay and during the follow-up for at least one year. Results: The multiple burr holes filled with fibrous tissue and the contour of the skull was maintained in all 10 patients making the need of a secondary cranioplasty unnecessary. No postoperative infection, osteomyelitis, or cranial bone sequestration occurred. Conclusions: Even with moderately delayed management of contaminated electrical burns, partial excision of the necrotic bone with burr holes and flap coverage appears to be adequate. [P R Health Sci J 2010;1:83-85]

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