The evolution of surgical management for craniosynostosis

Neurosurg Focus. 2010 Dec;29(6):E5. doi: 10.3171/2010.9.FOCUS10204.


Craniosynostosis, the premature closure of cranial sutures, has been known to exist for centuries, but modern surgical management has only emerged and evolved over the past 100 years. The success of surgery for this condition has been based on the recognition of scientific principles that dictate brain and cranial growth in early infancy and childhood. The evolution of strip craniectomies and suturectomies to extensive calvarial remodeling and endoscopic suturectomies has been driven by a growing understanding of how a prematurely fused cranial suture can affect the growth and shape of the entire skull. In this review, the authors discuss the early descriptions of craniosynostosis, describe the scientific principles upon which surgical intervention was based, and briefly summarize the eras of surgical management and their evolution to present day.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Boston
  • Cranial Sutures / abnormalities
  • Cranial Sutures / surgery
  • Craniosynostoses / history
  • Craniosynostoses / surgery*
  • Craniotomy / history*
  • Craniotomy / methods
  • Endoscopy / history
  • Female
  • History, 18th Century
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, Ancient
  • Hospitals, Pediatric / history
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Orthopedic Procedures / history
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures / history
  • Skull / abnormalities
  • Skull / growth & development
  • Skull / surgery*