Is My Skull Thick Enough To Be Reduced Enough To See A Difference?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I would to get the big bump on the back of my head reduced. It sticks out and makes my head look odd from the side. I know that bone can be shaved down but I don’t know how far or much that can be done. I did have my doctor order a skull film and the report says that the ‘occipital bone thickness is 1.7cms at its fullest’. Does this mean I can get the back of my head taken down enough  to see a difference and still not injure the brain or be dangerous?

A: An occipital bone thickness of 1.7 cms is a measurement that involves the three layers of the skull. These include the inner and outer cranial table (solid bone) and an inner marrow space layer. (soft bone) Think of the skull like an oreo cookie. With a thickness of 1.7 cms, that indicates that safe cranial reduction can be done.  But the real question, as you have asked, is how much could be done and would the results justify the effort. I would need to get a digital copy of the x-ray so I can take a measurement of the outer cranial table thickness and do a tracing to be sure that enough reduction can be done to make a visible difference. The outer cranial table and the marrow space can be reduced but the inner bone table can not. Assuming that each section of skull thickness accounts for 1/3 (which it may or may not), then a 2/3s or close to a centimeter may be capable of being removed in a skull reduction procedure.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana