A metopic ridge is a ridge that can be found on the forehead of some infants. A metopic ridge may be normal in some infants, but in others it may be a sign of a skull abnormality.
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.
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.
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.
Kaney PM. Congenital malformations of the skull and meninges. Otolaryngol Clin N Am. 2007;40:9-26. PMID: 17346559 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17346559.
Kinsman SL, Johnston MV. Craniosynostosis, In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 585.12.
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.
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.