How Big Can Skull Implants Be?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I called you last week regarding my upcoming skull surgery with Dr. Eppley. I was wondering if there are clearly defined size restrictions on the silicone implant. My head is small all the way around so I’d like to augment both the front sides and the back. However I’m not sure if this would be possible without tissue expansion. Presumably, the answer would depend on how much I wanted to augment each area, so I’m wondering if there are some kind of numerical limits on that. 

I am primarily concerned with augmenting the frontal sides, so I need to figure out how much width I would need to sacrifice there in order to be able to do a little bit of an increase in the back as well. This is not something I would want to guess on or eyeball, so a little more clarification would be really helpful. 

Additionally, I want to make sure that if for any reason I have problems with the implant, I can get it removed quickly and for a small/ reasonable fee. I’m sure I will love it, but I just want to know that it can be removed if I really hate it for any reason. 

A: Your assumption that there are size limitations for skull implants based on how much the scalp can stretch is a correct assumption. Unfortunately there are no established methods or means to determine what that limit. It is exclusively based on my experience in doing skull implanty procedures. If the implant is being placed through an open coronal approach, the scalp does become fairly ‘stretchy’ and good numbers are about 7mm to 9mms all the around. That may not sound like much but in skull implants which cover a broad area that effect can be quite profound and more than one would think.

The beauty of silicone skull implants is that they are relatively easy to place and reverse if desired.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana