A British man in his 70s who had to have the top part of his skull removed after it was smashed in a car crash more than 50 years ago has baffled doctors when he recently had to have the metal plate that was protecting his brain removed to treat an infection: to their astonishment his skull had regrown underneath it. It is very rare for bone to grow back like this in an adult.

72-year old great-grandfather Gordon Moore who lives in Hexham, Northumberland, turned his car over in an accident near Berwick, also in Northumberland, 54 years ago.

Surgeons saved Moore's life by removing an entire smashed section of his skull from eye to ear and over the top of his head and replacing it with a titanium plate.

But when surgeons at Newcastle's General Hospital removed the plate to treat an infection underneath, they were astonished to find that the hole made over 50 years ago had been replaced with new bone that grew back under the plate.

Moore's consultant and neurologist Param Bhattahiri told Newcastle's The Chronicle on Tuesday that:

"It was a great surprise to find the skull had grown back."

"You would expect it in a child, but not in an adult, certainly not an area of bone so big," added Bhattahiri.

Moore was expecting to wait several months for a new plate but now he has been told he doesn't need one at all. He told the paper that he was amazed and pleased at the same time when they gave him the news.

"When they took the infected plate out they found I had grown a completely new skull underneath, so they just stitched me up," said Moore.

"They were preparing for me to walk around with a safety helmet on for a few months, but it's just not necessary," he added.

He said the regrown bone has followed the same shape as the metal plate, including a dent from another accident he had three years after the plate was fitted. In the second accident his car hit a lamppost and his head hit the mirror, leaving a dent in the metal plate.

Moore will be undergoing scans so experts can check the thickness and strength of the new bone.

He told the press that he was waiting for the hospital to reply to his request to keep the plate as a "souvenir".

Source: ChronicleLive.

Written by: Catharine Paddock, PhD