OBJECTIVEEvaluation of increased intracranial pressure (ICP) in the pediatric craniosynostosis population based solely on ophthalmological, clinical, and radiographic data is subjective, insensitive, and inconsistent. The aim of this study was to examine the intraoperative ICP before and after craniectomy in this patient population.METHODSThe authors measured the ICP before and after craniectomy using a subdural ICP monitor in 45 children. They regulated end-tidal carbon dioxide and the monitoring site under general anesthesia to record consistent ICP readings.RESULTSThe average age of the patient population was 29 months (range 3.8-180.5 months). Thirty-seven patients (82.2%) were undergoing initial craniosynostosis procedures. All craniosynostosis procedures were categorized as one of the following: frontoorbital advancement (n = 24), frontoorbital advancement with distraction osteogenesis (n = 1), posterior vault distraction osteogenesis (n = 10), and posterior vault reconstruction (n = 10). Nineteen of 45 patients (42.2%) had syndromic or multisuture craniosynostosis. The mean postcraniectomy ICP (8.8 mm Hg, range 2-18 mm Hg) was significantly lower than the precraniectomy ICP (16.5 mm Hg, range 6-35 mm Hg) (p < 0.001). Twenty-four patients (53%) had elevated ICP prior to craniectomy, defined as ≥ 15 mm Hg. Only 4 (8.9%) children had papilledema on preoperative funduscopic examination (sensitivity 17%, specificity 100%, negative predictive value 51%, and positive predictive value 100%). There were no significant differences in elevated precraniectomy ICP based on type of craniosynostosis (syndromic/multisuture or nonsyndromic) or age at the time of surgery. Patients undergoing initial surgery in the first 12 months of life were significantly less likely to have elevated precraniectomy ICP compared with patients older than 12 months (26.3% vs 73.1%, p = 0.005).CONCLUSIONSIn this study, the authors report the largest cohort of syndromic and nonsyndromic craniosynostosis patients (n = 45) who underwent precraniectomy and postcraniectomy ICP evaluation. A craniectomy or completed craniotomy cuts for distractors effectively reduced ICP in 43/45 patients. The authors' findings support the notion that papilledema on funduscopy is a highly specific, however poorly sensitive, indicator of increased ICP, and thus is not a reliable screening method. These findings indicate that even nonsyndromic patients with craniosynostosis are at risk for increased ICP. Furthermore, patients who present prior to 12 months of age appear less likely to have elevated ICP on presentation. Further studies with other noninvasive imaging of the retina may be useful as an adjunct tool for determining elevated ICP.
Keywords: DO = distraction osteogenesis; FOA = frontoorbital advancement; ICP = intracranial pressure; OCT = optical coherence tomography; PVDO = posterior vault DO; PVR = posterior vault reconstruction; craniofacial; craniosynostosis; intracranial pressure monitoring; intraoperative; pediatric.