April 15th, 2013 | The Heads Up!!! Foundation recently donated $3,000 to the Cleft and Craniofacial Program at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health. The gift will pay for the purchase of the “Craniofacial Family Notebook” which is given to parents of newborns at their first clinic visit. The notebook contains valuable educational information about… Continue Reading
Craniosynostosis is a rare condition that occurs when a child is born with the bones of their skull fused together. The skull is made up of many bones that fit together, and babies are normally born with space between some of these bones to allow for skull growth. The place where the bones eventually grow together and fuse is called a suture. Babies whose sutures fuse too early typically have an abnormally-shaped skull. Our physicians at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health are the most experienced surgeons in the Midwest in providing the necessary and complex treatments for craniosynostosis, allowing children to live long, healthy lives.
What is Craniosynostosis?
Craniosynostosis occurs when one or more sutures in a baby’s skull close earlier than normal. The borders of the bones in the skull intersect at sutures, which normally close by the time a child is two or three years old. When a child is born with the sutures already fused together, or when the sutures begin to close early, a child will experience restricted skull growth and have an abnormally shaped head.
What causes Craniosynostosis?
Craniosynostosis is a rare birth condition and the cause is unknown in the majority of cases. However, in some cases, a form of craniosynostosis is inherited, as part of a genetic disorder. Genetic disorders commonly linked to craniosynostosis include Crouzon, Apert, Carpenter, Chotzen, and Pfeiffer syndromes.
You may suspect your child has craniosynostosis if you notice the following symptoms:
- No fontanelle (soft spot) on your newborn's skull
- A raised, hard ridge along sutures
- Unusual head shape
- Little or no increase in the head size as the baby grows
What are the different types of Craniosynostosis?
- Syndromic: Syndromic Craniosynostosis is characterized as the fusing together of sutures in the skull which can be accompanied by other abnormalities including the webbing of fingers.
- Sagittal: Sagittal is the most common, and is the premature fusing of sutures at the top of the head. This fusing forces the head to grow long and narrow, instead of wide.
- Metopic: The Metopic suture runs from the nose to the top of the head where it meets the Sagittal suture. The early fusing of this suture causes a baby’s scalp to be triangular-shaped.
- Coronal: The Coronal suture runs from each ear to the top of the head and can cause the forehead to lay flat. Other common affects of Coronal are raised eye sockets, a deviated nose and a misshapen skull.
- Lambdoid- Lambdoid is the rarest form of craniosynostosis which involves the suture along the back of the skull and can cause a baby’s head to be flattened on the affected side.
How is Craniosynostosis diagnosed?
- Physical Exam
- CT Scan
How is Craniosynostosis treated?
If Craniosynostosis is diagnosed, reconstructive surgery is usually recommended. The surgery is typically performed before the baby reaches one year old. Our team of pediatric neurosurgeons, plastic surgeons and dedicated pediatric anesthesiologists take the utmost care during the surgery to separate the bones that have fused together. Surgery relieves the pressure of the skull on the child’s brain and ensures there is enough room in the skull for the child’s brain to grow properly. Surgery also allows the bones to grow in a more normal shape.
Our physicians have extensive experience treating craniosynostosis and other rare cranio-facial disorders. We treat more patients with this disorder than any other hospital in the Midwest, giving us the knowledge to provide the best care. Nationally recognized in the field, we are the only center in Indiana offering treatment using only pediatric neurosurgeons and pediatric-trained anesthesiologists, meaning your child is in the safest hands possible.
Additional information about Craniosynostosis
If left untreated, craniosynostosis will result in increased intracranial (inside the head) pressure and severe, permanent head deformity, developmental delay and possibly even seizures. These serious side effects are why it is very important to talk to your child’s doctor and seek surgical treatment for your baby as soon as possible.