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Skull reshaping (skull contouring) is a surgical procedure that is typically used to reshape the skull to give it a more uniform, oblong shape. Another cause of skull reshaping is the condition called craniosynostosis. This is where the growth pattern of the infant’s skull changes due to one or more joints of the skull, fusing permanently. The procedure is ideal for individuals who are unhappy with the shape of their skull, or who have congenital skull abnormalities.
Prior to the procedure, you will have a consultation with our surgeons to determine your specific needs and clarify expectations. For information on skull reshaping for infants or children, please refer to our craniofacial page.
Skull reshaping is performed under general anesthesia. 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 exact head shape and concerns. If the skull needs to be “filled” or rounded out, a synthetic biomaterial such as polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) and hydroxyapatite (HA) will be used. On rare occasions, a custom-made implant may 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 7 to 10 days.
How It Works
After a thorough evaluation, choose a treatment plan with our surgeons.
Learn all about pre-operative safety preparations before your surgery.
Follow your surgeon's instruction to ensure a smooth recovery.
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Frequently Asked Questions
The size and scope of the skull reshaping procedure will obviously affect the extent and length of the recovery. With the exception of the very largest skull reshaping procedures, recovery is usually quicker than one would think. Recovery is mainly about whatever swelling and bruising occurs, how visible it is and how long it takes to go completely away. I place no after surgery restrictions on physical activity or showering. (Which can be done immediately) Thus recovery is largely about how one looks and feels.
Other than the potential of some minor hair loss along the incision site (which I work hard to prevent), no form of skull reshaping surgery causes hair loss. The scalp has a tremendous blood supply and has extensive blood vessel connections from all over the scalp. Even the longest scalp incision with extensive scalp elevation does not affect hair growth.
While a shaved head would certainly make many aesthetic skull procedures easier, I do usually modify one’s existing hair style in any way. While working through and around hair can be challenging, it does not increase the risk of infection. Keeping one’s existing hairstyle also makes the patient’s recovery less noticeable.
The need for before surgery x-rays must be determined on a procedure basis. Many skull reshaping procedures do not.
The typical risks of any aesthetic surgery such as infection, bleeding or fluid collections are actually very rare in the skull/scalp. The most common adverse issues all revolve around the aesthetic outcome. How well was the shape change achieved, is it symmetric and how well did the incision heal. Revisional procedures in skull reshaping surgery is not rare because of these issues and averages collectively in the 10% to 15% range. Smaller procedures have very low rates of revision while larger procedures would be understandably higher.
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