AVENTURA, Fla. – All babies are born with “soft spots” in their skulls, a design of nature that allows them to more easily travel through the birth canal and then leaves room for the brain to form after birth.
These soft spots, called frontanels, may fail to close on their own leaving an indentation that becomes noticeable and potentially troubling as the child ages.
If not addressed early in childhood, before the age of 5, fixing the problem could require invasive surgery, but plastic surgeon Dr. Joshua Lampert has found another solution.
“For adult patients who unfortunately were not treated as children and have permanent skull flatness, we’ve had great success using silicone implants to better shape the skull,” Lampert said.
The process involves using a CT scan to make a 3-D generated image of the skull. Lampert will then sketch what the skull would like and then sends it to the manufacturer to design the customized implant.
“In general, these implants we use for skull shaping are firm and are not gel-filled like breast implants, so they typically last a long time, hopefully the length of a patients lifetime and never have to be replaced,” he said.
Lampert said routine “tummy time” in infancy can help avoid the problem and special helmets can be worn to help close the skull if they are utilized before the bones fuse together.