Fixation of the craniofacial skeleton with butyl-2-cyanoacrylate and its effects on histotoxicity and healing

Michele A. Shermak, Lesley Wong, Nozumu Inoue, Barbara J. Crain, Michael J. Im, Edmund Y.S. Chao, Paul N. Manson

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49 Scopus citations


Butyl-2-cyanoacrylate is an easily applied, biocompatible, bioresorbable polymer glue that provides an alternative to conventional rigid fixation techniques. Our aim was to determine if cyanoacrylate fixation of the bone flap in a rabbit craniotomy model provides the healing and strength afforded by plate and screw fixation. We also investigated the inflammatory responses of adjacent tissues including the scalp, cranium, and brain. A unilateral parietal bone flap was elevated in 33 adult New Zealand rabbits. The bone was fixed in position with cyanoacrylate (n = 13), fixed with a microplate and screws (n = 14), or was replaced without fixation (sham-control, n = 6). Normal scar formation and no residual polymer were found in scalp specimens. Neuropathologic analysis identified the presence of residual polymer on the surface of 2 of the 13 rabbit brains. Histopathologic analysis of the bone flap-to-skull interface revealed no difference in the degree but rather in the quality of inflammation and healing between the plate and screw and polymer fixation groups. Microdensitometric analysis of the bone gap revealed nearly equivalent bone density in the cyanoacrylate and plated groups, tending to less density in the sham group (p = 0.11 and 0.09, respectively). An additional study focusing on neurotoxicity was performed in 20 adult rabbits with 3-week and 11-week recovery periods and similarly found the absence of a marked inflammatory response to the polymer. In conclusion, bone healing and soft-tissue inflammation were comparable between cyanoacrylate and plate and screw fixation groups. Although butyl-2-cyanoacrylate glue fixation may provide a reasonable alternative to hardware fixation, further investigations are necessary to identify its ideal utilization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-318
Number of pages10
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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