Since when can a skull grow back?

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  • Thread starter waht
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  • #1
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Interesting, didn't know that a skull can grow back:

The severely damaged skull of a Northumberland man involved in a car crash 50 years ago has regenerated itself, a process thought to be rare.

Doctors operated to treat an infection in Gordon Moore's head and found the bone had grown back beneath the metal plate inserted after the accident.


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8293731.stm
 

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  • #2
Monique
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When you break a bone it heals, it's remarkable that it grew back over such a large area.
 
  • #3
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huh. i wonder if the composition of the metal had something to do with it?
 
  • #4
turbo
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Bone in skull can re-grow. Anthropologists judge the success of Pre-Colombian Trephination surgeries by gauging how much bone has grown back. No re-growth at all is generally regarded as an indicator of an unsuccessful surgery, absent evidence of other conditions that could have killed the patient.
 
  • #5
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Bone in skull can re-grow. Anthropologists judge the success of Pre-Colombian Trephination surgeries by gauging how much bone has grown back. No re-growth at all is generally regarded as an indicator of an unsuccessful surgery, absent evidence of other conditions that could have killed the patient.

If you brake a bone, and put it in cast undisturbed, the bones will bond because of being in close proximity. But if you were to drill a hole in skull, would it actually patch by itself?
 
  • #6
turbo
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Early cranial surgery was generally performed by cutting a pair of parallel slices in the skull. If you looked for signs of healing, you would look first at the corners and later to the flat sides. Nature will make a circle out of a square, if allowed.
 
  • #7
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i've been trying to imagine how it happens. my guess is that there is a covering of connective tissue that scars over the injury, and that osteoblasts from the edge of the injured bone migrate into the connective tissue and gradually ossify it.

but with metal plates, i think there are some metals (titanium?) that can actually serve as a structure for bone to attach, like in hip replacements.
 
  • #8
Moonbear
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As the article states, it's very rare. I'd be curious to know if this man has some genetic "abnormality" that allowed such an unusual amount of healing to occur so late in life.

Usually, these metal plates are left in place for life. Of course, one area of research in biomedical engineering is finding materials that will serve to function in place of a bone or ligament, and promote regrowth of tissue into the area to eventually replace the injured tissue. But, even in those cases, usually the implanted material remains for life, encapsulated in the new tissue growth.
 
  • #9
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As the article states, it's very rare. I'd be curious to know if this man has some genetic "abnormality" that allowed such an unusual amount of healing to occur so late in life.

Usually, these metal plates are left in place for life. Of course, one area of research in biomedical engineering is finding materials that will serve to function in place of a bone or ligament, and promote regrowth of tissue into the area to eventually replace the injured tissue. But, even in those cases, usually the implanted material remains for life, encapsulated in the new tissue growth.

What types of materials and characteristics? I imagine a lightweight rigid mesh type material would allow interwoven and permanent/natural growth.
 

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