Q: Dr. Eppley, I was surfing the web when I came across your blog. As I was reading I got excited in hopes that you could be help for me. I am 35 yrs of age and all my life I have avoided anyone touching my head or getting my hair wet in public places such as a pool. The reason is that one side of the back of my head is flat. I think the medical term for it is deformational plagiocepahly. The back of my head is flat, my left side to be exact. In addition, my forehead is somewhat flat as well. This condition has severely bothered me. Growing up as a child was difficult, I had plenty jokes directed at me for the shape of my head. I have used a blow-dryer most of my adult life to camouflage this area as best I can. I would hope that you can help me. What can be done for it?
A: You are describing deformational plagiocephaly to a tee… a twisting of the skull during growth that creates a flattening on the back of one side of the head and a similar but more modest flattening on the opposite forehead. In severe occipital flattening in adults, I have performed cosmetic skull reshaping through an onlay cranioplasty technique. Most cases of a flat back of the heads have their locations up high above the ear level. Through a small vertical incision, the bone can be built up using either hydroxyapatite or acrylic. (PMMA) There are some advantages and disadvantages to either material and they need to be reviewed carefully with the patient. But the surgery is fairly easy to go through, one’s recovery is very quick, and the results are immediate.
Dr. Barry Eppley