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Skull reshaping (also known as skull contouring or back-of-head augmentation), is a surgical procedure that is typically used to reshape the skull to give it a more uniform, oblong shape. The procedure is ideal for individuals who are unhappy with the shape of their skull, or who have congenital skull abnormalities.
Skull reshaping addresses a number of skull shape 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 clarify expectations. For information on skull reshaping for infants or children, please refer to our craniosynostosis page.
Skull reshaping is performed under general anesthesia. Contrary to popular belief, the patient will not need to shave their hair and no hair needs to be removed during the procedure. Placement and length of the incision will vary depending on the particulars of the head shape. 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. These materials are biologically compatible and will bond with your own bone. A custom-made implant may sometimes be necessary depending on your desired head shape.
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.
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.
If you have previously had a skull reshaping procedure and you were unsatisfied with the results you may also consider a corrective procedure. In fact, revision or correction of skull reshaping is actually quite common — about 15% of all our skull reshaping procedures are revision surgeries wherein we are asked to correct a previous surgeon’s work.