How Much Of A Skull Or Forehead Can Be Reduced?

Q: I was wondering if it is possible to shave down certain parts of the skull. My forehead isn’t the way I want it to be shaped. I am trying to get my forehead to stick out a little less. Is it possible to shave the skull down? And if so how much can be taken off?

A: The thickness of one’s skull can be taken done by burring. How much it can be reduced is determined primarily by the thickness of one’s outer cortex. The skull has three bony layers, an outer hard cortex, an inner spongy marrow space and and an inner hard cortex.  While the burring reduction can be taken down past the outer cortex into and through the marrow space, that causes a lot of bleeding and can make for an irregular surface. Therefore for practical reasons, the outer cortex is usually the only skull thickness reduced when done for cosmetic purposes. That can vary in different skull areas but in the forehead in a man, that may be up to 5mms or so.

The more significant rate-limiting step for male forehead reduction is the incision needed for access to do the procedure. A scalp incision is needed to turn down the scalp so the bony forehead is exposed for reduction. Given the unstable frontal hairlines and hair densities of most men, forehead surgery of any kind may not be worth the trade-off of a scalp scar.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana