Do You Shave Hair For Occipital Skull Augmentation Surgery?

Q: Dr. Eppley, When I was a baby I had a very flat head, and never got the helmet or any other treatment. I am now 26 years old and not only is the back of my head still flat, but it has also caused an abnormality to the structure of my face, jaw, eyes, nose, and forehead, which are all out of line, and unsymmetrical. The shape of my head, is something that has really effected me my whole life and something that I am very insecure about. I have to be very particular and cautious with how I style my hair in order to try and make it look less flat. I never let people see me with my hair wet, I never wear my hair down unless it’s teased, and the list goes on… 

I have come across your website, and can see that you do surgeries for improving the shape of a skull/head. I would be very interested in getting this procedure once I know a bit more about it.. Firstly I am just after a rough cost estimate for the surgery (I understand that the cost would be different on everyone) but just as a rough estimate so I can have some sort of an idea. Secondly I am a girl, and I take pride in my hair.. Would I have to shave all my hair off prior to surgery? Would the scar be noticeable? Will the scar stop my hair growth around that area? Will the scar go away overtime? Will the scar be easily hidden? Is there any safety concerns about having this implant? Eg, getting a knock to the head, would it cause extra pain because of the implant? Would it affect the shape? Or move the implant? Would the surgery affect my brain or any internal organs? What is the recovery time for this surgery? 

*the photos also don’t do it justice of how flat my head looks. 

Please let me know if there is anything else I should know about this surgery. 

Thank you, I look forward to your reply soon.

A:While it is unclear yet as whether you need a one vs two stage occipital skull augmentation procedure, I can answer your questions as follows:

1) Hair is not shaved for the surgery.

2) The fine line scalp scar usually heals without excessive widening and would be undetectable in someone with hair. Such scars are permanent.

3) The surgery generally does not adverse effect on hair growth.

4) There are no safety concerns with extracranial onlay skull implants.

5) The implant is more like putting a bumper on the head, it is actually protective rather than detrimental.

6) Trauma will not displace the implant.

7) The implant is on the opposite side of the skull from the brain, thus it is not affected.

8) Depending upon how one defines recovery, the significant part of recovery is over after 10 to 14 days after the surgery.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana