What Is The Best Way To Fix This Dent In My Head?

Q: Dr. Eppley, Wow. Information about dents on a persons head is next to impossible to find on the internet. I have about dent on the very top of my head that is about 2 inches in diameter, so it is a fairly large dent. After an accident, some skin was literally ripped from the top of my skull. Eventually, the skin did grow back, but I have no hair there now as the hair follicles went with the skin when it was ripped from my skull. The main problem is though I have a dent in my head there too. At first I thought that all the tissue ( the matter under the skin ) didn’t grow back even though the skin did. Recently, a CT scan showed that part of my skull was thin, so now I don’t know if I have the dent because I need tissue or if it’s because of my skull. Is there any way to determine what the actual cause of this dent is, and if it’s the skull, would anything procedure done to the skull raise the tissue so that it is flush with the rest of my head?

A: While I don’t know the details of your original injury, it strikes me as unlikely that you would have pushed in your skull or removed the outer layer of cranial bone with an avulsion type injury. My suspicion is that this is more of soft tissue defect than bone. the scalp is incredibly thick in many patients particularly of your ethnicity. If you lost enough scalp to remove the hair what is healed is now a partial thickness of scalp which can certainly create an ‘indentation’. The definitive answer, however, would be the CT scan which should clearly show what the bone looks like underneath of the scalp…if the scan was done using coronal images and not just axial slices. I would need to see the the scan and pictures of your scalp defect to definitively determine the anatomic basis of your head indentation.

If it is just soft tissue you can have the defect excised and the hair-bearing scalp defect loosened and used to repair the defect. If there is a loss of bone component to it this can be simply filled in with hydroxyapatite cement (cranioplasty) and the hair-bearing scalp tissue closed over it.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana