Musculoskeletal system

Dent in skull or Skull indentation: 10 Causes, Tips, Prevention

Dent in skull or skull indentation, have you ever heard of this problem. It is a small depression in your skull. It is not a normal variant in people. There is undoubtedly some or the other cause behind it.

The causes may range from Nutritional deficiencies like vitamin A deficiency to severe infections like Meningitis. Let us explore them in detail in this article.

Dent in skull or Skull indentation Causes:

dent in skull
Dent in skull
Image source:

There are many causes of developing Dent in skull. Let us look at them below:

Vitamin A toxicity or Vitamin A Hypervitaminosis:

Vitamin A is essential for having healthy skin, eyes, etc. But, too much of anything, even a good thing is harmful. Excess Vitamin A can lead to Vitamin A toxicity, a condition called Vitamin A Hypervitaminosis.

Excess Vitamin A can leading to softening of the bones, including the skull leading to the formation of dent in skull or skull indentation.

Vitamin A Daily requirement:

Dent in skull can occur in kids when they are given more amount of Vitamin A than their daily requirement. First, let us understand the exact daily requirement of Vitamin A as per age group of the child.

  • 0 to 6 months of age:  400 mcg
  • 7 months to 1 year of age: 500 mcg
  • 1 to 3 years: 300 mcg
  • 4 to 8 years: 400 mcg
  • 9 to 13 years: 600 mcg
  • 14+ years: 900 mcg for males and 700 mcg for females
Symptoms of Vitamin A toxicity:

The symptoms of Vitamin A toxicity vary based on whether the toxicity is acute or chronic (developed over several months). Let us explore symptoms of vitamin A toxicity in addition to dent in skull or skull indentation below:

Acute Vitamin A toxicity Symptoms:

  • Feeling Irritable and drowsy or sleepy
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Feeling nauseous or like vomiting
  • Vomiting
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Chronic Vitamin A toxicity Symptoms:

  • Skin changes like skin becoming rough, dry and peels easily
  • Changes in the vision
  • Anorexia or lack of appetite
  • Pain and swelling of the bones, leading to dent in skull or indentation in the head
  • Photophobia or sensitivity to light
  • Oral ulcers
  • Loss of hair
  • Feeling confused

Symptoms of Vitamin A toxicity in infants:

  • Skull becoming soft leading to the formation of a dent in skull
  • Enlargement or protruding of the fontanels or soft spot on the top of the infant’s head
  • Vision changes
  • Inability to gain weight
Diagnosis and Treatment of Vitamin A Toxicity:

Vitamin A toxicity can be diagnosed by checking the levels of Vitamin A in the blood. It is treated by stopping the intake of vitamin A supplements as most often Vitamin A toxicity occurs due to excess intake of vitamin A supplements.

Gorham’s  Disease:

It is a very rarely occurring disease of the bone. In this disorder, there is a breakdown of the bone called osteolysis, and also the formation of abnormal new blood vessels. This disease can affect a single bone or multiple bones at the same time. It can even involve the soft tissues over the bones.

The exact cause for the development of Gorham’s disease is not known. It occurs randomly in people. The most common bone affected by Gorham’s disease is the skull leading to the formation of a dent in skull or skull indentation. The other bones affected are Clavicle, Jawbone, Pelvic bones, ribs, etc

Symptoms and Complications of Gorham’s disease:
  • Severe pain in the affected bone
  • Swelling in the bone
  • Limitation of the movement of the bone affected
  • Fatigue or Weakness
  • Can lead to Fracture of the affected bone
  • Can lead to Pleural Effusion or build up of fluid around the lungs in the pleural cavity leading to shortness of breath
Treatment of Gorham’s disease:

No exact treatment is shown to prevent the further progression of this disorder. But, several remedies are being tried to control the symptoms of this disease. Some of them include the following:

  • Radiation therapy or Radiotherapy
  • Surgery to correct the affected part of the bone
  • Vitamin D supplements
  • Calcitonin
  • Bisphosphonates like Alendronate which are also used for the treatment of Osteoporosis
Excess and Prolonged Pressure on skull:

When there is excess pressure on your head, it can lead to skull indentation or dent in skull. This can occur when you are in sleep or by wearing bulky helmets, etc. Try to avoid exerting excess and continued pressure on your skull or head to prevent the development of dent in skull.

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Meningitis is the inflammation of the Meninges or the layers that cover your brain to protect it. Meningitis is a life-threatening condition if not treated promptly on time. It can also lead to the development of dent in skull.

But, there are many more severe symptoms of Meningitis that you need to be aware of, so that you consult your physician immediately if you notice any such symptoms. They are:

  • High fever
  • Pain in the neck or stiffness in the neck
  • Photophobia or sensitivity to light
  • Nausea, vomiting due to increased intracranial pressure or tension
  • A severe headache
Skull infections:

Sometimes, you might develop some infection of the skull. This might also lead to a dent in skull or skull indentation. You will need to take antibiotics by consulting a physician if an infection afflicting the skull is causing your dent in skull.

Injury to Head:

Injury or trauma to the head can lead to a dent in skull or skull indentation. It is a prevalent cause of developing this problem. Head trauma is one of the most common reasons for the Emergency room admissions.

Head trauma or Injury can occur due to various reasons like:
  • Accidents at work
  • MVA or Motor accidents
  • Fall from height
  • Physical abuse by other people
Symptoms of head Injury or Head trauma:

If your head is injured due to any of the above causes, you can have symptoms like:

  • Dent in skull or Indentation in the skull
  • Altered consciousness
  • Bleeding from the nose or ears
  • A severe headache
  • Nausea, Vomiting
  • Problems of balance
  • Impaired vision
  • Seizures or Convulsions or Fits
  • Tinnitus or ringing sounds in the ear
  • Altered memory
  • Leaking or CSF or transparent fluid from the ear, nose
Steps to take to prevent head injury:
  • Avoid drinking alcohol and driving
  • Never indulge in physical abuse or fights with others
  • Walk carefully on staircases
  • Keep a keen eye on children to avoid falls
  • Don’t exceed the speed limit while driving
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Scalp Lipoma:

If you develop any Lipoma on the scalp, then also you can develop dent in skull or indentation in head. Lipoma is a small mass of fatty tissue which occurs subcutaneously. It is more commonly seen in the people of middle age.

Lipoma is seen running in families, that is you can develop it if your parents or siblings have it. It is usually harmless and painless. But, if any nerve is compressed in lipoma, you might experience pain, though it occurs very sparsely. There is no particular treatment available for this condition.

Chiari Malformation:

They are the defects in the skull, which can lead to the compression of parts of the brain, which ultimately leads to a diminished flow of CSF or cerebrospinal fluid.

Symptoms of Chiari Malformation:

They can cause many symptoms like:

  • Giddiness
  • Hearing or visual impairment
  • Balance problems
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Muscle weakness
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Tinnitus or abnormal sounds in the ear, etc
Metastatic cancer:

Metastasis is the term used to describe distance spread of the cancer cells to other organs or body parts through the blood or the lymphatic system. Cancer cells from different parts of the body can spread to the skull, leading to changes in the bone of the skull.

These cancer cells can create holes or dent in skull due to osteolysis. Treatment of underlying cancer which has undergone metastasis is necessary to control this problem.

Congenital Depressions:

They are the depression of the skull which is present at the time of birth of the child. They appear like a dent in skull. They can be caused due to the pressure exerted by the mother’s pelvis over the soft fetal skull during the delivery. But, it is a sporadic thing to happen.


Dent in skull or skull indentation can be caused by many different causes like Vitamin A toxicity, Chiari malformation, Head injury, Gorham’s disease, etc. Sometimes they can also be present congenitally.

If you have a dent in skull, you need to observe for any other symptoms that you have. If you don’t have any symptoms at all, you need not worry. But, if you develop any abnormal symptoms, then you need to consult your physician right away, as treatment of the cause of the dent in skull is essential.

A surgeon specialising in craniofacial surgery can correct dent in skull. We hope that this article is informative.


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