Cutis verticis gyrata (CVG) is a type of condition that affects the skin of the scalp area in which the skin of the scalp thickens. The thickening causes deep folds to form that closely mimic the folds of the brain. There are two classifications of primary causes and a classification for secondary causes of CVG.
Primary essential CVG is used to describe the occurrence of CVG when an underlying condition is unknown or if there is a lack of additional abnormalities that may be associated with this condition. This classification of CVG occurs more commonly in men than women, developing around the time of puberty. Primary CVG progresses slowly, which makes diagnosis at earlier stages unlikely.
The second primary classification is primary nonessential CVG. Specific neurological conditions can be associated with CVG, such as epilepsy and cerebral palsy. These conditions do not necessarily cause CVG, but they are commonly found to occur in conjunction with CVG. Research has shown that many people who suffer from various neurological conditions also suffer from some form of CVG, whether it leads to deep skin folds or not. There are some cases of patients who do not progress to the development of the folds, but they do suffer from frequent scalp infections and lesions.
Secondary cutis verticis gyrata is diagnosed when an underlying condition is directly responsible for causing CVG. Not all conditions cause CVG, and only conditions that cause changes to the scalp or its structure have the potential to cause CVG. Examples of such conditions include folliculitis, eczema, acromegaly, and several cutaneous conditions grouped as genodermatoses.
Although cutis verticis gyrata does not generally occur until the onset of puberty, some cases of early stages have been present at birth. When CVG is the result of a cutaneous condition and is secondary, plaque or flaking of the scalp can be visible on newborns and infants. Topical medications can help temporarily treat the visible symptoms, but they will continue to progress.
Cutis verticis gyrata treatment includes medications to deal with symptoms that may occur, such as infections and dry skin, but there are not any medications available to cure CVG. Avoiding infections through proper hygiene is important. If skin lesions occur or the skin folds become bothersome, surgery is an option. Skin lesions can be repaired through minor surgery, and the skin folds can be removed and the skin rejoined through cosmetic reconstructive surgery.