Skull Augmentation Materials

Q: Dr. Eppley, I am interested in skull reshaping. I want to understand the differences between skull augmentation materials that are used and their risks. Can these materials cause infection, can your body reject it? Also, will they have to be replaced with new ones after a certain period of time?

A: In answer to your skull augmentation material questions:

1) The vast majority of skull augmentations I do are done with custom implants made of a solid silicone material. This materials offers computer designing implants that are both cost effective and can be inserted through smaller scalp incisions.

2) Any implanted material placed in the body runs the risk of infection. That risk for skull implants is very low due to the superb blood supply of the scalp and skull bone. I have yet to see an infection from a custom silicone skull implant.

3) Such materials do not develop rejection since silicone is one of the most biocompatible of all synthetic materials and as a long history of safe medical use.

4) Silicone skull implants are permanent. They do not degrade or break down and thus never need to be replaced. They should not be confused with silicone breast implants which are gel-filled devices and do require replacement in most patients.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana