Craniosynostosis is a condition caused by early closure of one or more of the normally present bone gaps between the bones of the skull. These gaps are called sutures. The cranial sutures allow the brain to grow and expand during the first year of life. Normally, these sutures close at different times in a patient’s life as brain growth stops. If a suture closes too early, the brain may not have adequate room to grow.

Approximately one infant in every 1,000 births will have early closure of a cranial suture. Craniosynostosis does not improve over time and it can worsen as the child grows. This may result in a ridge in the area of the closed suture and change in the shape of the skull. Some of the sutures that are affected are: metopic, coronal, sagittal, and lambdoid. If more than one cranial suture is fused or closed, the pressure inside the brain can become higher than normal. The diagnosis is confirmed by examination of the child and, in more complicated cases, with x-rays and/or a CT scan of the head.

How long will the procedure take?

Typically, craniosynostosis repair can take about four to five hours. The goal of the surgery is to open the closed sutures to prevent problems with high pressure in the brain and to allow the brain to grow normally. The second goal is to obtain a normal shape of the skull and face. The timing of your child's surgery depends on your child's condition and any associated medical problems.

Where will the incisions be?

The incisions are typically hidden in the hair at the top of the scalp. The incision is made in such a fashion as to blend with the hair and lessen the appearance of the scar, even when the hair is wet.

What will recovery be like?

The recovery typically involves one night in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and then two to three nights on the Pediatric floor. This is to be sure that your child recovers safely before going home.

What else should I know about this procedure?

As a cleft and craniofacial specialist, Dr. Aboutanos is qualified and ready to care for your child as your child grows and develops. She is a member of the accredited Cleft and Craniofacial Team at St. Mary’s Hospital, and she will help coordinate your child's care with other specialists in a multi-disciplinary manner. She will help coordinate your child's care with other specialists in a multi-disciplinary manner.