Does Occipital Augmentation Have Any Major Risks?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I have done some research on an occipital augmentation cranioplasty for a flat back of the head. I am still about 18 months away from having the money to receive such an operation but in the meantime I have two questions. 

1.) What are the long term effects of such a operation?

2) How long is the scalp incision to do the surgery?

3) If I sent in a picture, is there any way to get a good estimate of the size of the needed incision? And is there a way to see what possible results would look like on myself?

Thank you for your time!

A:  In answer to your questions:

1) Based on my extensive occipital augmentation experience, I have yet to seen any long-term untoward consequences such as implant problems (infection), skull or scalp issues. There can be some aesthetic issues such as smoothness and edge transition blending into the bone.

2) The size of the incision is going to be based on what implant method is used, preformed implant (6 to 7 cms) or PMMA bone cement. (9 to 10cm) That is predictable up front.

3) Side view pictures can be used to show potential result predictions using computer imaging techniques.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana