Surgical correction of metopic synostosis

Childs Nerv Syst. 2005 May;21(5):392-8. doi: 10.1007/s00381-004-1108-y. Epub 2005 Feb 16.


Background: Premature closure of the metopic suture results in deformation of the anterior portion of the calvarium, which can vary from mild to severe. In mild forms, there is only prominent ridging of the metopic suture; more severe forms result in a marked narrowing of the frontal and temporal regions that in turn affects the supraorbital rims and produces hypotelorism.

Methods: The authors retrospectively reviewed 39 consecutive cases of metopic synostosis treated over a 12-year period.

Results: The average age at referral was 5 months, with surgery performed at an average age of 7.5 months. Fifteen infants had other congenital anomalies, with eight having synostosis of other sutures. Follow-up ranged from 7 months to 6 years, with an average of 29 months. In three mild cases, burring of the metopic ridge was performed with excellent aesthetic results in all cases. The other 36 patients had significant deformity of the supraorbital ridges and temporal regions, with obvious hypotelorism for over 50% of the time. In these cases, the patients underwent craniofacial reconstruction to normalize their appearance. In addition, the lateral aspect of the sphenoid ridges, including the orbital roof and lateral orbital wall to the infraorbital fissure, was removed to free the cranial base. The average blood loss was under 400 ml and the average hospital stay was 3.6 days. Results were considered good to excellent in all except three cases, which had recurrence of a prominent metopic ridge; two required a second operation after 6 months for burring of this ridge, whereas the third was treated conservatively with an orthotic headband.

Conclusion: Mild forms of metopic synostosis can be successfully treated with burring of the metopic ridge alone. Severe forms require craniofacial reconstruction and may be associated with other congenital abnormalities, additional synostosis, and developmental delay. In all cases, the operative procedure must be tailored to the nature and severity of the deformity.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cranial Sutures / pathology
  • Cranial Sutures / surgery*
  • Craniosynostoses / complications
  • Craniosynostoses / pathology
  • Craniosynostoses / surgery*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Synostosis / complications
  • Synostosis / pathology
  • Synostosis / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome