Skull reshaping using implants is the only effective method for augmenting head shape. While certain bone and muscle removals can be done for more limited skull reductions, skull augmentations can produce much more dramatic changes. In essence, the stretch of the scalp is far more permissive than the thickness of the skull bones.
In very large skull augmentations the scalp can become a limiting factor and may require a first-stage scalp expansion. But beyond the ability of the scalp to accommodate a large skull implant, getting the proper shape and dimensions of the implanted material is the other major challenge. This is overcome today using a custom design approach with a 3D CT scan. Custom skull implants can now be made to cover any area of the skull including the entire bony skull if desired. (forehead back to occiput)
Manufacturing very large or total custom skull implants is difficult because they can cover more than a 180 degree arc with thin edges. To avoid manufacturing problems, a two-piece approach to the implant’s fabrication and insertion can be done. Creating two interlocking edges allows for a two-piece custom skull implant to be accurately reassembled on the patient’s skull the way it was designed.
Very large skull implants are most accurately placed using a long scalp incision. This patient shown here already had a full coronal incision so its total length was used. If such a long scar was not already present, a shorter incisional length could be used.
Dr. Barry Eppley