Skull Implant Surgery

Q: Dr. Eppley, Sorry that I was groggy right after my skull implant surgery and I didn’t had a chance to ask you some questions and I hope I can still ask you through email.

1) I know you usually use dissolvable suture for skull implant and planed the same to my case, but at the end you used staple sutures. Is it because it was too tight?
2) I remember you mentioned that my surgery “was fine. and it’s really tight”. Is there anything that I need to be aware due to it’s tightness? Did the implant need to be trimmed or altered in order to put in during the surgery?
3) I am trying to palpate the implant but have a hard time to locate due to the pain and numbness of my scalp.  I am wondering later on am I able to palpate the implant when it’s fully healed?
4) Please tell me how you want me to remove the staples.

A:Thank you for your early followup. In answer to your skull implant surgery questions:

1) Metal staples were used for your skin closure because it was very tight and I did not trust dissolvable sutures. The good part of that is that means you have gotten the absolute maximum amount of skull augmentation that your scalp will permit.

2) The implant was not modified in shape in any way. It was placed with the outer contours as depicted in the 3D planning pictures.

3) You probably will not be able to tell where the implant is when all the swelling goes down and the scalp feeling returns.

4) The ear sutures are dissolvable so they will eventually fall out on their own. But they can be trimmed off now if they are irritating.

5) The scalp staples can be removed anytime 10 days or so after surgery. Since you have the staple remover it is a matter of finding someone to do it, it is easy to do. Whether that is a friend or any medical personnel who feels comfortable doing it is the only question.

Dr. Barry Eppley
Indianapolis, Indiana