In Temporal Reduction Surgery Can Bone Be Removed As Well As Muscle?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I’m thinking about getting a skull reduction surgery sometime in the future. I’m thinking about specifically getting a temporal reduction surgery, mainly because my head appears overly wide. And I’m hoping to have my head appear more narrow after the surgery is done. I just had one question about the procedure. I read online about the temporal reduction surgery and how it will be carried out. I understand that to reduce the width of the head, you can remove the posterior temporal muscles located on the side of the head. But isn’t it also possible to remove some of the outer layer of the bone located on the side of the head if this bone is thick enough? Just like how it is done with the occipital reduction surgery, where the amount of reduction is limited to the thickness of the outer bone located at the back of the head. I’m asking this because when I plan to get this surgery, I’m hoping to make my head not appear as wide as it does now, and I’m hoping to get the most results from this surgery. 

Thank you for answering my questions.

A: In answer to your temporal reduction surgery questions:

1) In every case of temporal reduction I have done removal of the muscle alone has been adequate…even in those that believed that bone reduction was needed as well.

2) Temporal bone reduction can always be done if one is willing to have the incision located on the side of their head. (as opposed to hidden behind the ear when the muscle is removed)

3) The temporal bone is very thin and just a few millimeters can be removed. Thus the minimal benefits gained is usually not worth the scar burden to do it…particularly if one has no hair to hide it.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana