Custom Occipital Implant

Q: Dr. Eppley, I have a flatness in the occipital area of my head which is very pronounced, especially with short or wet hair. I have x-rays with a little outline of the augmentation I wish to accomplish. If I were to proceed with an augmentation procedure I would prefer a custom occipital implant. With today’s technology, how big of an incision should I look forward to, and where would this incision be made? Can a custom occipita implant be fabricated using the x-rays I have or is there another form of imaging technology that needs to be used? There is also a slight bump on the top left side of my head. If I wanted to try an shave that down a bit, how much would the incision size change, and can that same incision be used to insert a custom implant for the occipital portion?

A: A custom occipital implant is made from a 3D CT scan, no other form of x-ray will suffice due to inadequate imaging data. A custom occipital implant is usually placed through a low horizontal scalp incision on the back of the head. Unless the skull bump is very near the location of this incision, it would not be able to be reduced through it and another scalp incision closer to it would be needed. There is also the alternative of making a higher scalp incision where the custom occipital implant could be placed and the skull bump could be reduced through the same incisional access.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana