Skull Reshaping and Augmentation
What is skull reshaping or skull contouring?
Skull reshaping (also known as skull contouring or back-of-head augmentation), is a surgical procedure that is used to reshape the skull to give it a more uniform, oblong shape. This procedure can be performed on anyone, male or female, who is unhappy with the shape of their skull or individuals who have congenital abnormalities.
What types of issues does skull reshaping fix?
Skull reshaping or contouring can address a number of skull irregularities, such as flattened skulls, bumps and ridges, sloped heads, and skulls that appear too wide or too narrow. Prior to the procedure, you will undergo a full consultation with your surgeon to determine your specific needs and expectations.
For information on traditional skull reshaping for infants, please refer to our craniosynostosis page.
How is skull reshaping performed?
Skull reshaping is performed under general anaesthesia. The patient does not need to shave their hair and no hair will be removed during the procedure. Placement and length of the incision will vary depending on the particulars of the individual’s head shape. After the procedure the incision will then closed with sutures.
If the reshaping is intended to flatten out bumps, ridges, or high spots, the bone will be smoothed out using a rotary or burring tool.
If the skull needs to be “filled” or rounded out, a synthetic biomaterial such as polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) and hydroxyapatite (HA) is used. A custom-made implant may also be necessary depending on the patient’s head shape. These materials are safe and will bond with the patients’ own bone.
What is the healing process and timeframe?
As with all procedures, the patient must consider the healing process. The initial healing period, depending on the specific procedure is generally a week to 10 days. After the first 48 hours the patient may shower and wash their hair normally. We will clean and bandage your scalp immediately following the procedure. There is typically no bruising with this surgery, although you may experience some mild discomfort for the first few days. Swelling is to be expected and will partially resolve after a week to 10 days, and fully within approximately 4 weeks. Complete surgical results will be visible 2-3 months post-surgery.
Scarring is another consideration, particularly for patients who are bald or have short hair. Although the head will not be shaved, the incision will leave a thin scar on the head, usually less noticeable in patients will full hair.
Can skull reshaping be performed on children and teens?
Skull reshaping may be performed on children and teens. However, whether your child or teenager is an ideal candidate for this procedure will depend on the type of congenital skull shape abnormality present.
Can a previous skull reshaping procedure be corrected or revised?
Yes, most definitely. In fact, revision or correction of skull reshaping is actually quite common — about 15% of all or our skull reshaping procedures are revision surgeries wherein we are asked to correct a previous surgeon’s work.