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Cranioplasty
What Is A Cranioplasty?

Cranioplasty is the surgical repair of defects in the skull, usually performed to amend the results of a traumatic injury or a previous surgery. The Plastic Surgery Clinic of Chicago is one of only seven centers in the city that offer cranioplasty as a procedure.

Cranioplasty is performed not only to improve the shape and appearance of the skull, but also to provide protection for the underlying brain.

Cranioplasty

AM I A CANDIDATE FOR CRANIOPLASTY?

Your doctor may recommend cranioplasty for any of the following reasons:

  • Cognitive Performance – Cranial defects can affect neurological activity in some patients.
  • Safety – Defects in the skull may leave the brain susceptible to injury.
  • Aesthetic – Visible asymmetries may impact appearance and, by extension, self-confidence.

Cranioplasty is usually more than just improving asymmetries of the skull; if you believe you might be a candidate for cranioplasty, schedule a consultation with us to discuss treatment options.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM YOUR CONSULTATION

If your doctor believes you are a candidate for cranioplasty, the consultation will include all aspects of the procedure, possible associated risks, and what to expect during recovery. During the consultation, be sure to share your entire medical history, particularly allergies, medications, and previous surgeries. Since the Plastic Surgery Clinic of Chicago is one of only a handful of centers in the city that perform cranioplasty, we will discuss all facets of the procedure with you so that you have a complete understanding before making the decision to move forward.

HOW A CRANIOPLASTY IS PERFORMED

After a general anesthetic is administered, the surgeon carefully makes an incision on the scalp and separates the layers in such a way that the dura, the outermost membrane surrounding the brain, remains intact.

The affected cranial area is usually restored with a contoured graft customized to each patient’s individual needs. These implants may be made from titanium, a synthetic bone substitute, molded acrylic, or a graft from the patient’s own bone. The implant or graft is then positioned and secured using plates and screws.

Finally, once any bleeding is controlled and the scalp is placed back into position, the incision is closed with sutures in layers. It is sometimes necessary to have a drain in place for a few days following the procedure to remove any excess fluid.

RECOVERY AFTER A CRANIOPLASTY

Since cranioplasty is an inpatient procedure, patients will be transferred to the NCCU (neurological critical care unit) after recovering from anesthesia. Cranial procedures do not often cause much pain, but patients are given medication to ensure comfort.

Most cranioplasty patients spend two to three days in the hospital after their procedure. By the first or second day, patients are encouraged to walk around; by the third day, the head bandage will be removed. If a final CT scan shows no complications, you will be released to return home.

Intermittent headaches and fatigue are common after cranial surgery. Patients should get plenty of rest in the days following their procedure, and always adhere strictly to all instructions given by their surgeon. Sutures are usually removed between two and three weeks after surgery.

POTENTIAL RISKS OF CRANIOPLASTY

Any surgical procedure comes with potential risks. Always discuss these with your surgeon before making the decision to undergo a cranioplasty. Potential risks include:

  • Bleeding
  • Hematoma (blood clot)
  • Infection
  • Seizure
  • Fever
  • Stroke

Always make sure that the surgeon performing the procedure is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, and that the surgery is being carried out in an accredited surgical facility.

WHAT DOES CRANIOPLASTY COST?

Most health insurance plans will cover a majority, or even the entirety, of a cranioplasty procedure because it is considered reconstructive in nature. Health coverage varies, so please contact your health insurance provider before scheduling a consultation.

SCHEDULE A CONSULTATION

The Plastic Surgery Clinic of Chicago is always willing to answer any questions or concerns that potential patients may have regarding any of our procedures. We are as committed to medical education as we are to patient care. If you would like to schedule a consultation, call us today or use the Contact link to send us an inquiry.

All surgical procedures by the Plastic Surgery Clinic of Chicago are performed at top hospitals in Chicago and CMS or AAAASF-certified surgical centers for safety.

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Midterm follow-up on this lovely #rhinoplasty patient who wanted nasal surgery to improve her nasal breathing but also to improve the aesthetics of the nose. Fixing the crooked nose is a challenge in rhinoplasty and on the bird’s eye view, you can visualize improvement in the dorsal aesthetic lines. Dorsal aesthetic lines are two curvilinear light reflex lines that travel from the inner eyebrow to the tip of the nose on frontal view. On profile view you can see a nice profile with the dorsal hump removed. Posted with permission.

#plasticsurgery #plasticsurgeon #cosmeticsurgery #rhinoplasty #hybridrhinoplasty #septoplasty #crookednose #chicago #chicagoplasticsurgery
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Honored to lead the Midwestern Association of Plastic Surgeons (MAPS) as president for 2021-2022 with this group of esteemed colleagues on the board with me. MAPS is a plastic surgery society that was founded in 1961 to foster the development of plastic surgery in the Midwest region and involves plastic surgeons and plastic surgery programs from the states of Kansas, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. We are currently planning our annual meeting which will take place in Chicago on May 20-21st. The meeting will have renowned plastic surgeons from all over the United States to share ideas and to advance our specialty forward.

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Happy for this mother of 2 who wanted to improve the contour and aesthetics of her abdomen and waist with an #abdominoplasty or #tummy tuck. After children, women can experience rectus diastasis or separation of the abdominal muscles as the uterus expands. During a tummy tuck, plastic surgeons will address this separation by stitching the muscles back together. In the post-operative photos you can visualize the muscles re-positioned more centrally. Additionally, we will perform liposuction, remove excess abdominal skin and re-set the belly button. Posted with permission.

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Asian upper blepharoplasty or “double eyelid surgery” is a variation of an upper eyelid lift or upper blepharoplasty procedure where the upper eyelid crease is raised and more defined. Additionally, the epicanthal fold or skin that covers the inner corner of the eye can be removed depending on the patient’s goals. The goal of this surgery is not to necessarily create an occidental appearing eye but to maintain the patient’s features and create the appearance that the eye is larger and more refreshed. Posted with permission.

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Six month follow-up on a natural #otoplasty procedure or #earpinning procedure. Plastic surgeons board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery have pioneered the techniques used today for ear pinning surgery. The surgery entails improving the definition of the ears and setting the ears closer to the scalp. The patient reports feeling more confident in the size, shape, and symmetry of his ears in social and work settings. Posted with permission.

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6 month follow up on a #malerhinoplasty patient who wanted his dorsal hump removed, the nose straighter, and the tip less bulbous. The patient underwent a #primaryrhinoplasty where the dorsal hump was removed, the entire nose was straightened, and the tip refined. Pay close attention to the tip of the nose, in male rhinoplasty we try to avoid over rotating the nose or making the tip “upturned”. This maneuver feminizes the nose. Posted with permission.

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This patient is 3 months from a breast augmentation with gel implants. The patient’s goals were to go from an A cup to a D cup but to still look natural. In the post-operative photos you can see that the patient has improved volume, more projection, and a natural result that fits her frame. Posted with permission.

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Happy for this patient who wanted to look and feel more rested and youthful. The patient underwent a lower facelift and neck lift to improve the aesthetics of the lower 1/3 of the face and neck. In the post-operative photos you can see improvement in the jowls, the contour of the jawline, and the neck. Posted with permission.

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Just a little hi def liposuction and abdominal etching before sweater weather.

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Happy for this patient who wanted to look less tired, more youthful, and natural. The patient underwent an upper and lower #blepharoplasty or #eyelid lift. In the post-operative photos, you can see improvement in the “bags” under the eyes, the deep crease between the eyelids and cheek, and loose skin. Posted with permission.

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Challenging #rhinoplasty in a thick-skinned patient with a lot of things to address. The patient wanted a reduction in the dorsal hump, a straighter nose, and a smaller nose over all. The patient underwent a dorsal hump reduction, the nose was medialized, and the tip de-projected or pulled closer to the face and refined. Still her nose that fits her ethnicity but more balanced and refined. Posted with permission.

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This mother of 2 wanted a #mommymakeover to get her pre-baby body back plus more. The patient underwent a #BBL and breast augmentation. In the post-operative photos you can see the snatched waist, the abdominal etching, and improved contour of the hips and buttock. Posted with permission.

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Happy for this mother of 3 who wanted improvement in the size, shape, and symmetry of her breasts. The patient underwent a breast augmentation with 400 cc gel implants. In the post-operative photos you can see restoration of volume and improved shape and symmetry. Posted with permission.

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My fellow Chicago Booth alumni will appreciate this post. It was a great night for the Illinois Society of Plastic Surgeons where we had Professor Jean-Pierre Dube speak about “The Chicago Booth Approach to Pricing”. Dr. Dube is the James M. Kilts Distinguished Service Professor of Marketing at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and he is the director of the Kilts Center for Marketing. Dr. Dube discussed strategies on how to use marketing models and analytics to price medical services and medical products.

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I don’t usually post rhinoplasty results this early but she was looking so good so early that I had to share. This patient with thick skin is 6 weeks out from a primary ethnic rhinoplasty but already showing a positive impact from the surgery despite the long road to recovery. Posted with permission.

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Not getting the gym gains you want? Your plastic surgeon board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery can help. This patient underwent hi-def liposculpting and abdominal etching to improve the contour and aesthetics of his abdomen and waist. Posted with permission.


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This is a great case to highlight the importance of evaluating the chin with the nose in all rhinoplasty cases. Look at the video and focus on the nose, watch it a second time and focus on the chin, and then watch it a third time and focus on the nose and chin or the whole face. For the rhinoplasty, most of the work was focused on the nasal tip. For the chin, a reduction genioplasty was performed to narrow, lower, and set the chin back. Posted with permission.

#plasticsurgery #plasticsurgeon #cosmeticsurgery #nosejob #rhinoplasty #genioplasty #chinaugmentation #chicago #chicagoplasticsurgery
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