How Often Do Skull Implants Get Infected?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I have some more questions based on our previous discussions with skull implants.

1) What is your protocol, or what can I do, in the unlikely event (post op) , I develop an infection?

2) What if I’m unhappy with the outcome or placement? Do I have to pay for the corrections or revisions?

3) Is this something that will last the rest of my life? Is it likely for my body to reject the implant? I have read up on a lot of cases of people developing infections from implants.

4) Who can i go to in the event that something goes wrong with the implant when im older, (or if its damaged or detached) in the event that you have retired or no longer practicing?

5) Is there any way at all for me to feel confident that the implant will fit correct, look right, and feel right for me the first time around, without you actually evaluating me in person, aside from the CT scan?

6) Is the incision and scar guaranteed to be no more than 4-5 inches? Is it possible to make it smaller? ( this is one of the biggest factors in my decision)… I’d love to see what a scar on the scalp will look like on me, from previous surgeries you performed… I really don’t know what the scar will look like when it heals.

7) Also I seen you mention online that there may we unexpected expenses once you meet the patient? Obviously I know what I can afford to spend and what I cannot, so if there are additional unexpected costs, that has to be factored into my budget of what I can or cannot pay.

A: In answer to your questions on skull implants:

1) Fortunately, I only seen an infection in one case. Initially antibiotics are used. However, if that fails to resolve it it is very likely the implant will end up being removed to cure the infection.

2) There is a very specific revisional policy on all aesthetic surgeries. While I try very hard to get the optimal outcome in every patient, that is not always achieved. Should a revision be necessary, the patient is responsible for the OR and anesthesia fees for the time to do it.

3) Infection is always possible with an implant placed in the body, that is very different than rejection which basically is very rare to non-existant. People always confuse infection for rejection. Barring an infection or some aesthetic issue, this is a permanent procedure. The implant will never degrade, break down or need to be changed.

4) That is an impossible question to answer right now. Any craniofacial plastic surgeon will suffice.

5) This is a 3D computer designed implant, it will fit like a glove to your bone.

6) I do not believe the incision will be smaller than 4 or 5 inches. See attached image of various scalp scars from these procedures.

7) In your case, you have been given the quote which is what it will be. That is a statement made to general inquiries who many just ask for a general cost number.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana