Is A Maxillofacial Or A Craniofacial Surgeon Better To See For Forehead Reconstruction?

Q:  Dear Dr. Eppley, what is the difference between craniofacial and maxillofacial surgery? I am thinking that they use the same surgical procedures and the same materials like bone cement? I am interested in getting my forehead reconstructed from a dent in it  due to an injury but don’t know which type of surgeon to go to. And are you practicing both craniofacial and maxillofacial surgery?

A: Maxillofacial surgeons are usually dentists (with or without a medical degree) that have trained in facial bone surgery below the forehead, mainly of the jaws. Craniofacial surgeons are plastic surgeons that have done extra training in craniofacial deformities and have much greater experience in bone surgery above the jaws. Most maxillofacial surgeons will have very limited experience if any in forehead surgery and cranioplasty.

While there are exceptions to either of these types of surgeons and training and experience can vary by country and geographic region, these are general guidelines. I can speak to their differences quite clearly as I have trained and am board-certified in both specialities. You should seek out a plastic surgeon who has considerable experience in cranioplasty and the various materials used to do this type of forehead surgery.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana