A team of surgeons from Johns Hopkins recently came up with a safer, better method of replacing skull fragments after brain surgery. This is good news for anybody who might need a little work done on their noggin in the near future, as doctors have been using the same method since the 1890s.
The difference is pretty simple. In the past, if a portion of the patient's skull needed to be removed due to trauma, infection, a tumour or a stroke, the surgeon would peel back all five layers of the scalp and replace them right onto the surface of the brain. A few months later, after the swelling had gone down, they'd peel the skin off the brain and replace the bone. As you can guess, peeling skin directly off the brain sometimes led to undesirable results, but this new method avoids that trouble by initially only peeling back three of the five layers of the scalp. The bone is then sandwiched between the remaining layers.
"Everyone has been taught for 120 years to completely peel up the scalp," study leader Chad R. Gordon said in a press release. "But by not disturbing the brain, we get much better outcomes. This is a safer, simpler way to do a very complex surgery." It makes great sense — such great sense, you have to wonder why these doctors didn't think of it sooner. After all, they are brain surgeons! [Johns Hopkins via Futurity]