Morphologic Severity of Craniosynostosis: Implications for Speech and Neurodevelopment

Cleft Palate Craniofac J. 2021 Nov;58(11):1361-1369. doi: 10.1177/1055665620984643. Epub 2021 Jan 20.

Abstract

Background: Single-suture craniosynostosis (SSC) can be associated with neurodevelopmental deficits. We examined the correlation between morphologic severity and incidence of speech-language or psychological concerns.

Methods: In 62 patients (33 sagittal, 17 metopic, and 12 unicoronal), morphologic severity was determined via preoperative computed tomography (CT). Severity metrics for sagittal, metopic, and unicoronal synostosis were adjusted cephalic index (aCI), interfrontal angle (IFA), and anterior cranial fossa area ratio (ACFR), respectively. Speech-language and psychological concerns were assessed at age ≥4.5 years and defined as recommendation for therapy or monitoring.

Results: Mean assessment age was 5.7 years; 32% had a speech-language concern and 44% had a psychological concern; 44% had neither. Sagittal: Mean aCI of those with a speech-language concern (0.62) and those without (0.62) were equivalent (P = .580), as were mean aCI of those with a psychological concern (0.62) and those without (0.62; P = .572). Metopic: Mean IFA with (117.9) and without (125.2) a speech-language concern were equivalent (P = .326), as were mean IFA with (120.2) and without (123.2) a psychological concern (P = .711). Unicoronal: Mean ACFR with (0.65) and without (0.69) a psychological concern (P = .423) were equivalent. However, mean ACFR with (0.74) and without (0.63) a speech-language concern were not (P = .022*). Bivariate rank correlation showed significant association between morphologic severity and speech-language score only for unicoronal synostosis (ρ = .722; P = .008*).

Conclusion: A significant portion of patients with SSC had speech-language or psychological concerns. We found no correlation between morphologic severity and incidence of speech-language or psychological concerns for patients with sagittal or metopic synostosis. Morphological severity did correlate with speech concerns in patients with unicoronal synostosis.

Keywords: cephalometry; craniofacial morphology; dysmorphology; psychological assessment; speech disorders; synostosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Craniosynostoses* / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Speech*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed