Craniosynostosis refers to a head deformity where there is premature closure or fusion of the open areas between the skull plates in a child's skull. The infant skull consists of plates of bone separated by clear areas called sutures. When a suture closes, a predictable abnormality of head shape occurs.



Post-surgical turricephaly

Fusion of the sagittal suture occurs most frequently, producing an elongated, boat-shape skull or scaphocephaly. Other types of craniosynostosis occur because of fusion of the metopic, coronal and, rarely, the lambdoid sutures. In certain children, associated changes around the eyes and face may occur because of the fusion of the sutures in the cranial base. When this occurs, the child often has an associated craniofacial syndrome that must be diagnosed by a skilled geneticist.

Most cases of craniosyntosis are treated because of the resulting severe aesthetic deformities. However, a small percentage of cases are associated with increases in intracranial pressure due to changes in head shape, configuration and volume. At Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, 80 percent of the children who undergo craniofacial surgery are transferred directly to the floor after surgery, while only 20 percent require initial placement in the Intensive Care Unit. Children are generally in the hospital two to four days. Since 1989, the craniofacial and neurosurgical team has treated more than 400 patients from all over the Southeast with outstanding results.