MadSci Network: Medicine

Re: Complete healing of trepanned skulls ?

Date: Mon Mar 8 16:33:56 2004
Posted By: Paul Odgren, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Cell Biology
Area of science: Medicine
ID: 1074286049.Me

Dear Steve,

I admire your tenacity, your recovery, and your turning this brush with 
disaster into an opportunity to marvel at the complexities and wonder of 
the body and brain. 

Let me start out by saying that the Mad Scientist is NOT the place to go 
for medical opinions or prognosis of any type, since that obviously 
requires input from a physician or surgeon who knows you and your case. 
Let me also state that I am a PhD researcher in bone cell biology with no 
medical credentials, and as such, can not give anything but a general 
scenario on how trepanned holes behave over time. A hole such as the you 
describe, about 1.5 cm, is considered too large for bone to grow into and 
fill in an adult. That pretty much only happens in children. Instead, it 
fills in with scar-type cells and tissue that will not become mineralized, 
with some bone forming only around the rim of the hole. The extent of the 
bony rim varies with age and the individual. It is possible, for cosmetic 
and/or safety reasons, to put a plastic “plug” made of acrylic into the 
hole. If you think that would be a viable course in your case, then you 
could discuss the possibility with your physician.

I hope this helps.

Paul R. Odgren, Ph.D.
Dept. of Cell Biology
University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester

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