Craniosynostosis: Is surgery necessary?

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Craniosynostosis: Is surgery necessary?

Question

What can you tell me about craniosynostosis? Is surgery always necessary?

Diane
North Dakota

Answer

Craniosynostosis, also called synostosis, is the premature fusing of two or more of the bony plates that form an infant's skull. Normally, these bony plates grow together during the first few years of life. But sometimes they fuse together before brain growth is complete. This can result in a misshapen skull and can also interfere with normal brain growth and development. The shape of the skull deformity and its specific name depends on which bony plates are involved.

Treatment of craniosynostosis typically requires surgery during infancy to separate the fused bones. This allows the brain adequate space to grow and develop.

The cause of craniosynostosis isn't known. In some cases, it's inherited. It may also be associated with a serious underlying brain abnormality, which prevents the brain from growing properly. A doctor can confirm a diagnosis of craniosynostosis by X-rays of the skull or a computerized tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the head. Additional tests may help evaluate brain development.

    Last Updated: 07/14/2006
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