Forehead Reshaping after Infant Craniosynostosis Repair

Q : I am interested in reshaping my forehead. When I was a child I was diagnosed with craniosynostosis of the middle forehead suture which I think is called the metopic? I had infant cranial reshaping which I am sure helped a lot but since I was so young I can’t remember what it used to look like. I have been bothered by the shape of my forehead since I was a teenager. It appears too narrow for a male and has a slight vertical ridge down the middle of the forehead. What can I do about it now? I am a male and am 24 years of age.

A: What you have is the secondary sequelae of correction of an initial metopic craniosynotosis. That initial surgery is designed to bring out the sides of the forehead (temporal area) which helps create a more normal forehead contour. While this initial surgery is often completely curative, older styles of this form of cranial reconstruction often produced suboptimal results, leaving patients with a minor form of residual metopic craniosynostosis. This is seen as a residual bitemporal narrowing and the hint of the vertical midline ridge.

Secondary forehead reshaping can be done that is infinitely simpler than the initial cranial reconstructive procedure. Rather than bone removal, material is added on the outer surface of the bone. This is known as an onlay or frontal cranioplasty. Using the initial scalp incision, the forehead skin is peeled back to expose the bone. Then using either PMMA (acrylic) or HA (hydroxyapatite, my favorite) material, the bone is reshaped through an onlay spackling method. Any irregularities are smoothed out through an additive approach. Deficient areas are built up and made confluent with the surrounding cranial contours. Emphasis for this problem is on both smoothing the forehead and building up the still deficient temporal areas. This is a relatively simple procedure for those plastic surgeons with training and experience in craniofacial surgery.

Dr. Barry Eppley