Q: Dr. Eppley, I am interested in skull reshaping. I want to understand the differences between the materials that are used for skull augmentation and the risks. Can these materials cause infection or can your body reject it? Also, will they have to be replaced with new ones after a certain period of time due to breaking down of the implant material?
A: In answer to your skull reshaping questions:
1) The vast majority of skull augmentations I do are done with custom implants made of a solid silicone material. This is a material that does not degrade or breakdown unless exposed to very high heat. (375 degrees F or higher)
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 skull implant materials do not develop rejection since silicone is one of the most biocompatible of all synthetic materials.
4) Silicone skull implants are permanent. They do not degrade or break down and thus never need to be replaced other than for aesthetic concerns.
Dr. Barry Eppley