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Metopic ridge

Definition

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 2nd or 3rd year of life.

A metopic ridge occurs when the 2 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.

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

Tests may include:

  • Head CT scan
  • Skull x-ray

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

References

Argyropoulou MI, Rossi A, Gunny RS, Chong WK. Paediatric neuroradiology. In: Adam A, Dixon AK, Gillard JH, Schaefer-Prokop CM, eds. Grainger & Allison's Diagnostic Radiology: A Textbook of Medical Imaging. 6th ed. New York, NY: Elsevier; 2015:chap 82.

Kinsman SL, Johnston MV. Congenital anomalies of the central nervous system. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St Geme JW, Schor NF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 591.

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.

Review Date:11/4/2015
Reviewed By:Franklin W. Lusby, MD, ophthalmologist, Lusby Vision Institute, La Jolla, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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