How Soon Can Revisional Cranioplasty Be Performed?

Q: I have had forehead reshaping surgery about a year ago with PMMA resulting in a very unsatisfactory result. None of the areas I was concerned with have been addressed and there is significant visible irregularities as a result of the surgeons incompetence at the task. I wanted to know how long I should wait before seeking revision surgery? I would ideally like to have it nine months after the first surgery. Also how would the existing material (PMMA) affect how the surgery will be performed? Is there a greater risk of infection or is the surgery going to be significantly more difficult??

A: Sorry to hear of your unsatisfactory outcome from your cranioplasty procedure. From a technical standpoint, you could have revisional surgery at any time. There is no advantage or disadvantage to doing it now or years down the road. The material is set and stable and can be smoothed and rehaped, or added to, at any time. There is no increased risk of infection or increased difficulty in performing the procedure at any point. Revisional cranioplasty, when PMMA is the indwelling material, is actually slightly easier to do as the scalp tissues lift off of the material very easily as they do not bind or adhere to the PMMA. PMMA becomes encapsulated rather than integrated to the overlying soft tissues and the underlying bone. My observation is that patients having secondary scalp flaps raised report little to no pain afterwards although the swelling and the bruising will likely be similar.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana