Can Occipital Plagiocephaly Be Corrected By Bone Cement At An Early Age?

Q: Dr. Eppley, my son is 2 yrs old with mild to moderate plagiocephaly. One side of his head is noticeably flat on the back. I’ve read on here about the procedures available to fix this, in particular the cement injections. My question is if we decide to do this now at his age will the material expand with his head growth or will the procedure have to be done every so often throughout his life until his head reaches its final size? Thank you

A: The application of a calcium phosphate cement to the outside of the bone, known as an onlay cranioplasty, builds out the contour of the bone. It does not influence the growth of the skull in anyway. It allows it to grow as it normally would, albeit in its misshapen form. Knowing that non-synostotic occipital plagiocephalies do not display progression of the deformity, it is safe to assume that an altered/improved occipital shape achieved at a young age would be relatively stable as they grow.  I would not envision that a periodic addition of material would be needed until the child reaches skeletal maturity. The skull grows by resorbing bone on its inside and adding it to the outside. When done at age two, I would imagine that much of the added material would be incorporated into the bone as the child grows.

Dr. Barry Eppley
Indianapolis, Indiana