Craniosynostosis, is a medical condition in which some or all of the sutures in the skull of an infant or child close too early, causing problems with normal brain and skull growth. It can result in craniostenosis, which is the skull deformity caused by the premature closure of the cranial sutures. Also intracranial pressure can be increased.
Physicians diagnose craniosynostosis through physical examination, plain x-rays, and CT scans.
Surgery is typically used to separate the fused sutures of the skull as well as to reshape the skull. To treat the cosmetic troubles, a combination of orthodontic and orthognathic surgery can be used to relieve some of the midface deficiency. Typical surgery begins with a zigzag incision from ear to ear across the top of the head. The scar left by this type of incision makes the hair look more natural than that left by a straight incision would. Leroy clips are typically used to curtail bleeding, as cauterization would not result in an aesthetically pleasing result upon healing. Once the scalp is peeled back, pilot holes are drilled through the skull. These pilot holes are then connected, separating the skull into several pieces. Once reshaped, these pieces are placed back on the head (typically in an altered configuration) and held together by a combination of dissolving sutures, plates, and screws. These plates and screws are typically composed of a copolymer comprised of polyglycolic and polylactic acid and will break down into water and carbon dioxide within a year. Demineralized bone matrix or bone morphogenetic proteins are often used to fill gaps left by the expanded skull, encouraging the body to grow new bone in a process called intramembranous ossification. Once the hemostatic scalp clips are removed, sutures are again used to close the incision. Newer approaches include minimally invasive endoscopic assisted removal of the closed suture followed by treatment with custom made molding helmets. These surgeries are associated with significantly less blood loss, swelling, hospital length of stay and pain. The results have been excellent in the majority of patients treated this way. Endoscopic surgery, however, is indicated only for very young infants(