Single sutural craniosynostoses: surgical outcomes and long-term growth

Plast Reconstr Surg. 2009 Feb;123(2):635-642. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e318195661a.


Background: This study was designed to examine long-term skull growth following single sutural synostosis corrections and to evaluate surgical outcomes.

Methods: A retrospective outcome assessment of all children treated with a single-stage, open-remodeling procedure for sagittal, metopic, unilateral coronal, and unilateral lambdoid synostosis was performed. Long-term growth was assessed from serial anthropometric measurements taken up to 11 years postoperatively (mean, 4 years).

Results: Of 296 consecutive patients, complete records were available for 248 operative procedures. The mean surgical age was 12.3 months (range, 2.5 months to 8 years), with 36 patients older than 12 months. Transfusion rates decreased from 81 to 19 percent following the institution of blood conservation strategies. The average hospitalization was 2.5 days. There was one nonsurgically treated infection (0.4 percent), and no major complications or deaths. Five patients underwent secondary remodeling procedures (2 percent). Serial anthropometric measurements, obtained in 75 patients, showed normalization of cranial indices 6 weeks postoperatively, but subsequent measurements revealed statistically significant diminished growth. Earlier surgical treatment of metopic synostosis (4 months) was associated with significantly more growth inhibition than seen in those treated at an older age (12 months), with the other synostoses showing similar tendencies.

Conclusions: Treatment of single sutural synostosis was extremely safe with very low reoperative rates, but subsequent calvarial growth was abnormal, with a tendency toward recapitulation of the primary deformity. Growth was less diminished in procedures performed in older infants. Surgeons treating single sutural craniosynostosis should consider expanding treatment goals beyond normalization to an overcorrection of the abnormal skull shape.

MeSH terms

  • Cephalometry*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cranial Sutures / growth & development*
  • Cranial Sutures / surgery*
  • Craniosynostoses / surgery*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Head / growth & development
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Plastic Surgery Procedures*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome