Skull Implants for Plagiocephaly

Q: Dr. Eppley, My son, under the instruction of a general practitioner, was not given the green light for a helmet to treat plagiocephaly. We were told he would just grow out of it. He never did. One side of his forehead is more prominent than the other. It’s too late now as he is 4 years old. This raised my concerns, and after much research have come to find the rise of children and young adults effected by an uneven forehead due to the back to sleep programs of the 90’s.

There are hundred of parents that share the same concerns and numerous young adults seeking treatment of a lopsided forehead. My concern is that there are not enough surgeons worldwide with knowledge of correction techniques, such as custom made implants to even out this problem.

Please, if you have some sort of voice in the medical fields with other surgical professionals, could please bring light to these techniques. More training worldwide is needed. You are pretty much, the only surgeon that has any insight into this that I have come across. No one has ever heard of plagio forehead implants or treatment.

There needs to be much more research into this issue. Maybe you can train or help spread more awareness of how to surgically treat adults with plagiocephaly. Because, I guarantee ,now and in the future, it will help so many people.

I just Google about adults with plagiocephaly and many of them has felt suicidal, suffered depression or anxiety. This breaks my heart so much. Is there anything I can do to help spread awareness in the surgical community, please direct me how to go about it. Any information would be beyond welcome.

A: Thank you for your email. I certainly see and treat many patents with different forms of frontal and occipital plagiocephaly. I do find that the use of custom implants in teenagers and adults provides an effective improvement with a low risk of complications and aesthetic tradeoffs. Fortunately the internet provides the best forum for passing along this information as I try to do in my many blogs on this topic. I feel confident that what I do today, in time, will become well known and a more widely used surgical therapy for it. In surgery the adoption of newer surgical technique is often met with skepticism but successful outcomes eventually lead to it becoming an accepted and contemporary surgical approach.

Dr. Barry Eppley
Indianapolis, Indiana