What is craniosynostosis?
Craniosynostosis translates directly to “the skull has fused bones”; it is the premature fusion of one or more cranial sutures. The human skull is primarily composed of five bones – the paired frontal and parietal bones, and the occipital bone. Between the bones are sutures, which aid in the passage of the head through the birth canal and are centers for skull growth. When the cranial sutures fuse prematurely, it causes restriction of skull growth perpendicular to the suture leading to an abnormal head shape and underlying restriction on brain growth. Craniosynostosis occurs in 1:2000-2500 live births worldwide.
Are there different types of craniosynostosis?
Yes. There are four major sutures of the skull – Metopic, sagittal, coronal, and lambdoid. One of more of these sutures can fuse prematurely to cause abnormal head shape. The type of craniosynostosis is typically named by the suture that is abnormally fused (metopic, sagittal, coronal, lambdoid) or the resultant head shape (scaphocephaly, brachycephaly, trigonocephaly, plagiocephaly, turricephaly).
Does an abnormal head shape mean my baby has craniosynostosis?
No. Babies' heads are meant to be moldable to allow for passage through the birth canal and also accommodate rapid brain growth in the first two years of life. The head shape can appear abnormal depending on in utero positioning, method of delivery, head positioning while sleeping, etc. This is called deformational plagiocephaly and is not pathologic. However, babies should be assessed for torticollis to make sure this is not contributing to the head shape.
It is important to rule out craniosynostosis as a cause for abnormal head shape in babies because missing this diagnosis could affect their development in the future.
How do I learn more about craniosynostosis?
Visit our webpage http://craniofacialteamtexas.com/craniofacial-conditions-we-treat/craniosynostosis-diagnosis-and-treatment/ to read about this subject in more detail.
Call to schedule an appointment 512-377-1142 if you are concerned about your baby's head shape. We do NOT require a CT scan before evaluating your child.