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Dr. Barry Eppley

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Posts Tagged ‘forehead shaping’

Forehead Contouring and the Coronal Incision

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Contouring of the forehead is an uncommon procedure in plastic surgery but the techniques to do it are not. Whether it is to reduce frontal bossing, soften prominent brow bones, or change the slope of the forehead, the forehead can be reshaped in a variety of dimensions. Most reduction changes are more subtle to moderate due to the limitations of the thickness of the skull and the presence of the underlying brain or frontal sinuses. Building up the forehead can produce changes that are more significant as there are no such anatomic restrictions.

Forehead contouring developed from craniofacial plastic surgery techniques. One of the basic craniofacial tenets is that of the approach and using direct vision to see the entire surgical field. Using a coronal or scalp incision, the forehead tissues are degloved or peeled back from the scalp down to the orbital rim. With this amount of access, forehead bone manipulation is fairly straightforward. Whether it is bone reduction by burring, sinus osteotomies for reduction, or adding synthetic materials for augmentation, one is unrestricted in options with this exposure.

 More males than females desire forehead and skull reshaping in my Indianapolis plastic surgery practice experience. The limiting factor for males fulfilling that desire is the scalp scar. Males are more limited in having a hidden scar due to the location of their hairline and hair density. Most plastic surgery procedures are about making trade-offs…trading off one problem for another. The trade-off of a scalp scar for a better shaped forehead must be considered carefully in most males. This is rarely such an issue for females.

As craniofacial surgery techniques has evolved, more limited incisional or endoscopic approaches have been tried. In general, these are not particularly effective for most forehead procedures. They can be used to remove small osteomas or soft tissue masses and are very effective for cosmetic browlift and supraorbital nerve decompressions. But the access is too limited and the instrumentation is not sufficiently developed to allow for much bone manipulation. I have done a few synthetic augmentations endoscopically but only partial or subtotal areas can be done satisfactorily this way.

The only other incisional option is an upper eyelid incision but this can only be used for brow bone shaping. The eyelid incision provides good access to the mid- and lateral brow. But the inner brow area is blocked by the important sensory nerves that exit out from the bone there.

The bottom line is…most forehead contouring must be done using the full coronal incision. The magnitude of the deformity will determine whether the scalp scar is a reasonable aesthetic ‘problem’ to replace it. The forehead deformity and one’s concerns about it should be sufficiently significant to make coronal incision worth it.

Dr. Barry Eppley
Indianapolis, Indiana


Dr. Barry EppleyDr. Barry Eppley

Dr. Barry Eppley is an extensively trained plastic and cosmetic surgeon with more than 20 years of surgical experience. He is both a licensed physician and dentist as well as double board-certified in both Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. This training allows him to perform the most complex surgical procedures from cosmetic changes to the face and body to craniofacial surgery. Dr. Eppley has made extensive contributions to plastic surgery starting with the development of several advanced surgical techniques. He is a revered author, lecturer and educator in the field of plastic and cosmetic surgery.

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