Q: Dr. Eppley, I incurred a closed depressed skull fracture from a head-butt when I was 22. I am now 28. The depression in my skull has bothered me emotionally since it happened and I have some physical pain too (I feel like there is constant pressure on the area). When I participate in rigorous physical activity (such as running) I get severe head aches. I hope to get surgery to elevate the depression and was interested to know more about possible procedures.
A: If you are having symptoms of headaches and pain from your depressed skull fracture, the first thing you need to do is to consult a neurosurgeon to be certain that there is no undue pressure on the brain. While I would doubt that is the case after this many years, it would be an important first step to do. That is the only reason that the skull fracture would be elevated and that will require an open craniotomy to accomplish. If your neurosurgical work-up is negative then the depressed skull area can be treated for its cosmetic appearance by an onlay cranioplasty to build up the outside of the bone. A skull fracture is not elevated by craniotomy for a cosmetic change only.
Dr. Barry Eppley