Craniosynostosis

Craniosynostosis

Craniosynostosis is a birth defect in which one or more of the fibrous joints between the bones of a baby's skull (cranial sutures) close prematurely (fuse), before the baby's brain is fully formed. Brain growth continues, giving the head a misshapen appearance. Treating craniosynostosis involves surgery to correct the shape of the head and allow for normal brain growth.

How is it performed?

Open surgery

  • Before the surgery starts, general anaesthesia is administered.
  • An incision is made over the top of the head, from just above one ear to just above the other ear.
  • A flap of skin, tissue and muscle below the skin, and the tissue covering the bone are loosened and raised up so the surgeon can see the bone.
  • A strip of bone is usually removed where two sutures connect. This is called a strip craniectomy.
  • Sometimes, bones that are left in place need to be shifted or moved and sometimes, the bones around the eyes are cut and reshaped.
  • Bones are fastened using small plates with screws.
  • Surgery usually takes 3 to 7 hours.

Minimally-invasive surgery

  • A newer kind of surgery is used for some children.
  • The surgeon makes one or two small cuts in the scalp, usually above the area where the bone needs to be removed.
  • The endoscope is passed through the small cuts. The scope allows the surgeon to view the area being operated on.
  • Using special instruments, the surgeon removes portions of bone through these cuts.
  • This surgery usually takes about 1 hour.
  • Most children need to wear a special helmet to protect their head for a period of time after surgery.

Other Procedures

Cleft lip/palate repair

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Craniosynostosis

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Skin grafts

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