Q: Dr. Eppley, what is the difference between a stage one and two skull augmentation? What is the most you can expand? And how does the expanding procedure work? (ie what is used? Is it painful? How long does it take? Do I need to stay inIndianapolis during this time? Is it noticeable? Etc) I want to assume that I will expand a lot and I want to expand on the back and top of the head.
A: In ‘extreme’ or significant skull augmentation, it requires the initial use of a tissue expander to gain the necessary amount of scalp expansion for coverage over the volume of cranioplasty material. The first stage is the insertion of the scalp tissue expander which is similar to a balloon. It is inserted in a one hour procedure and is placed flat. (unexpanded) It is inflated on a weekly basis over the next 3 to 6 weeks based on how fast one wants to expand and other issues such as their geographic location. Depending upon the amount of expansion needed and one’s hair style, the tissue expander changes may be slightly or very obvious. Scalp tissue expansion is associated with minimal discomfort. The second stage where the cranioplasty material is applied to the skull can occur anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months after expansion is started based on their schedule and the amount of expansion needed.
Dr. Barry Eppley