Do The Screws Used For Skull Implant Fixation Corrode Over Time?

Q: Dr. Eppley, am in the early stages of considering a skull reshaping implant and at this stage simply gathering information to help me make a decision further down the line. I would be extremely grateful if you could spare the time to answer a few questions regarding this procedure. 

1. What is your preferred material for skull implants as I understand there are several materials available? 

2. I understand that titanium screws used to fix the implant in place will eventually start to corrode and need to be replaced after 20 years. Is this an easy-to-do process? 

3. Is there an alternative to using titanium? 

4. Can corrosion from titanium screws cause any health problems or damage to the brain. 

5. Is there an alternative to using screws to secure the implant as the very thought of having screws placed into my skull terrifies me. 

6. Is there any chance of damage to nerve or muscles in the scalp / neck. 

7. Will the outer edge of the implant or screws be visible through the scalp, even with a shaved head. 

8. Is there any chance of mis-measurement and ending up with an implant that doesn’t fit properly. 

9. Are there any activities that I won’t be able to do again once the implant is fitted. 

I look forward to hearing from you.

A: In answer to your skull implant questions:

1) The far superior material for aesthetic onlay skull implants is solid silicone.

2) Titanium screws do not corrode or ever need to be replaced.

3) The alternative is no fixation at all.

4) There is no corrosion from titanium metal. You are confusing a pure titanium metal with stainless steel which is an alloy.

5) Then don’t use them.

6) No

7) Implant edge visibility in the shaved head is always a potential aesthetic concern but is usualluy avoided.

8) No

9) There are no postoperative physical activity restrictions once fully healed.

Dr. Barry Eppley

World-Renowned Plastic Surgeon