The incidence of chronic tonsillar herniation (CTH) was evaluated with magnetic resonance imaging in 44 patients with Crouzon's syndrome and 51 with Apert's syndrome; the incidence was 72.7% in Crouzon's syndrome and 1.9% in Apert's syndrome. All the patients with Crouzon's syndrome and progressive hydrocephalus had CTH, but of 32 individuals with Crouzon's syndrome and CTH, only 15 had progressive hydrocephalus. Five patients with Apert's syndrome were treated for progressive hydrocephalus; none had CTH. The patterns of suture closure in these two groups of patients were studied, and significant differences in coronal, sagittal, and lambdoid sutures were found between patients with Crouzon's and Apert's syndromes. In Crouzon's syndrome, significant differences in the pattern of lambdoid suture closure were found between the groups with and without CTH; in the group with CTH, the lambdoid closure appeared earlier. The authors propose that the high incidence of individuals with CTH who have Crouzon's syndrome is related to the premature synostosis of the lambdoid suture in the first 24 months of age.