Is My Son Too Young For Skull Reshaping Surgery?

Q: Dr. Eppley, My son needs skull reshaping surgery. He is currently six yearrs old and will turn seven later this year. I have many concerns for my son. My son has never had a hair cut in his entire life. I braid his hair down in efforts to try to disguise the deformity located on the right side of his head. We are African-American and one day, after my son graduates from college, he will need to be appropriate to interview for jobs. No one will want to hire my son with braids in his hair. He needs to be able to cut his hair and wear suits proudly.  Also, both his grandfather and father are bald. What happens to my son if his hair pattern follows in that same direction? When my son was born, his head shape was absolutely perfect. I want my son to be able to fit in with society and not be ashamed or judged on his deformity. My son is an innocent child and if there were anyway I could take his place I would. Please help us.

A: Skull reshaping surgery by an onlay cranioplasty is most commonly performed for flat areas on the back of the head. I am assuming that his flatness is on one side of his head in the back of his head. Such a skull deformity is very amenable to being built up by an onlay cranioplasty procedure by putting material on top of the bone. This does require a scalp incision to do it, located more to the back of his head. He does not have to shave his head or unbraid his hair to do it. In fact, having braids in his hair is the best hair management for the procedure.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana