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Cranioplasty and Skull Reshaping

The different types of Cranioplasty Surgery

A cranial reshaping surgery, also called cranioplasty, is a surgery designed to correct skull / cranium deformities. It is aimed at reshaping or correcting irregularities and/or imperfections of the skull.  Those deformities can be congenital, meaning the patient is born with the cranial deformity, or could be acquired, meaning the skull anomaly due to a trauma, a surgery, an infection or other causes.

Congenital cranial deformities can be caused by non-syndromic craniosynostosis, syndromic craniosynostosis, severe positional plagiocephaly, encephaloceles, cutis aplasia, among others.

Acquired cranial deformities can be secondary to a brain or cranial surgery (such as cancer resections), severe skull trauma and fractures, infections or others.

There are various ways to perform a skull reconstruction. The choice of the technique depends on multiple factors, including the patient’s needs and wants, size of defect, type of defect and location of defect. You can perform an “augmentation” cranioplasty (to fill a defect for contouring) or a “reduction” cranioplasty (to trim down a bony protuberance for contouring).

There are two main categories when it comes to skull reconstruction/augmentation

The other type of cranioplasty is the “reduction cranioplasty”. Patients can present with abnormal bony growths or spurs that are most often congenital. Those bony growths can occur anywhere in the skull, including the forehead, vertex or occiput. The treatment involving a reduction cranioplasty is quite simple. Depending on the size of the area involved, through an incision hidden in the hairy scalp, the bony protuberances are shaved down using osteotomes or burrs. Scar are hidden in the scalp.

Ultimately, the general approach for a cranioplasty must be customized for each patient based on three principle factors: (1) cause of cranial defect; (2) location, size, and geometry of defect; and (3) presence of complicating factors, including infection and radiation. The interplay among these factors determines the optimal strategy for a given clinical scenario.

If you are interested to learn more about cranioplasty and would like to talk to Dr. Tahiri, feel free to contact his office. Also, please view our cranioplasty before and after photos in our patient gallery.

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