Object: Data from animal studies have shown that in experimentally induced craniosynostosis, removal of the involved calvaria results in the formation of new calvaria with time, and sutures redevelop in their normal anatomical positions. However, the pattern of suture reformation following surgery in humans with craniosynostosis remains ill-defined. The aim of this study was to determine the pattern of postoperative suture reformation in children who have undergone surgery for isolated sagittal synostosis and assess possible factors related to suture reformation.
Methods: Records were retrospectively reviewed for 42 consecutive infants who had surgery for isolated sagittal synostosis between 1987 and 2000 and for whom postoperative skull radiographs were available. The radiographs were evaluated for sagittal suture morphology and patency of the coronal and lambdoid sutures. Surgery involved at a minimum 1) a vertex craniectomy, characterized by removal of the sagittal suture and a 1.5- to 2.5-cm piece of adjacent parietal bone with the attached pericranium bilaterally, and 2) parietal osteotomies and/or craniectomies. The median age at surgery was 3.9 months (range 1.9-7.6 months). The mean duration of follow up was 32.2 months (range 6-144 months). The sagittal suture had reformed in only seven (16.7%) of the children at follow up. In the other 35 (83.3%), the craniectomized bone defects had reossified without any part of the sagittal suture being visible on the radiographs.
Conclusions: There is a very low incidence of suture reformation in children after surgery for isolated sagittal craniosynostosis. Genetic predisposition, inclusion of undiagnosed syndromic patients, and current operative techniques may be some of the factors responsible for the low incidence of suture reformation seen in this series.