Will Adult Plagiocephaly Surgery Improve My Head Pain?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I am 25 years of age, I’ve dealt with plagiocephaly most of my life. The left side of my head is caved in, while the right side is pushed out. There’s a very big issue with the muscles in my neck as well due to this. This has affected the way the majority of my face, and how it’s been shaped over time. I’ve never been able to consistently live a normal life unless I’m doing a ton of maintenance via cardio, deep tissue massage, chiropractor, certain posture, sleeping on my right, refraining from moving my neck too much and so forth. This has affected me greatly. I’m humbled by the condition, but at the same time I’d rather be able to move towards there being some sort of hope or help for the matter. Any sort of feed back would be great. 

A: Thank you for your inquiry and detailing your craniofacial concerns. While you have many of the skull and facial features consistent with various expressions of plagiocephaly, it is clear by your description that most of your concerns are associated with significant pain/tissue tightness. That by itself is a very uncommon issue in plagiocephaly but, more relevantly, it is unclear to me how addressing any of the aesthetic issues of plagiocephaly would improve those symptoms. That does not mean they may not but adult plagiocephaly surgery is about trying to improve the skull and facial asymmetries in their appearance. I have not seen nor would anatomically understand how such aesthetic changes would improve these pain-related symptoms.

But since the pain issue is an unknown, what we can focus on is the known, trying to improve the skull and facial asymmetry issues that you see as most important. From that perspective I would be interested in knowing what you feel are the top three issues in that regard.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana