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Metopic ridge

A metopic ridge is an abnormal shape of the skull. The ridge can be seen on the forehead.

Considerations

The skull of an infant is made up of bony plates. The gaps between the plates allow for growth of the skull. The places where these plates connect are called sutures or suture lines. They do not fully close until the second or third year of life.

A metopic ridge occurs when the two bony plates in the front part of the skull join together too early.

The metopic suture remains unclosed throughout life in 1 in 10 people.

Causes

A birth defect called craniosynostosis is a common cause of metopic ridge. It can also be associated with other congenital skeletal defects.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if you notice a ridge along your infant's forehead or a ridge forming on the skull.

What to Expect at your Office Visit

The health care provider will perform a physical exam and ask questions about the child's medical history.

Tests may include:

No treatment or surgery is needed for a metopic ridge if it is the only skull abnormality.

References

Spierer A, Wygnanski-Jaffe T. The Eye in Skeletal Disorders. In: Tasman W, Jaeger EA, eds. Duane's Ophthalmology. 2013 ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2013: vol 5, chap 29.

Kaney PM. Congenital malformations of the skull and meninges. Otolaryngol Clin N Am. 2007;40:9-26.

Gunny RS, Chong WK. Paediatric neuroradiology. In: Adam A, Dixon AK, eds. Grainger & Allison's Diagnostic Radiology. 5th ed. New York, NY: Churchill Livingston; 2008:chap 70.

Kinsman SL, Johnston MV. Craniosynostosis, In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 585.12.

Update Date: 11/12/2013

Updated by: Franklin W. Lusby, MD, Ophthalmologist, Lusby Vision Institute, La Jolla, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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