Skull Implant

Q: Dr. Eppley, I am interested in a skull implant for my child. What is the youngest age you would fit a pediatric skull implant to a child? Can it be done under local anesthesia?My son is three years old.. He has plagiocephaly of 6mm and 92% brachycephaly. Would he be suitable for a skull implant? Would he need more surgery as he got older? How many children have you fitted with head implants? Many thanks for your time.

A: I have done onlay cranioplasty surgeries in children as young as 4 years of age using hydroxyapatite bone cements. I have yet to use a silicone skull implant in someone that young although there is no specific medical reason not to do so. It is just a request I have never had. An onlay skull implant would grow with the child as the bone underneath it expands outward. There may or may not  be some settling of the implant into the bone a e] millimeters as the skull grows but this is a passive process not an active inflammatory or ‘erosive’ biologic event.  If his occipital deficiency is 6mms I would preferentially consider preferentially consider bone cement but I am not opposed to an implant. Either way these are not procedures done under local anesthesia in children. Please send me a picture which shows his occipital plagiocephaly deformity.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana