A metopic ridge is an abnormal shape of the skull. The ridge can be seen on the forehead.
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.
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.
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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.
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Update Date 11/4/2015
Updated 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.