Craniosynostosis is a condition that can occur in newborns when one or more of the fibrous connections, called cranial sutures, that connect the bones of the skull close prematurely before the baby’s brain fully develops. The closure of these sutures can cause the baby’s head to appear misshapen as it continues to grow. In normal circumstances, the cranial sutures are flexible during infancy, allowing the skull to expand as the brain develops. The meeting point of these sutures is known as a fontanel, which is a soft region located on top of the head. There are several fontanels located throughout the skull, with the anterior fontanel found directly behind a baby’s forehead, followed by the largest one being the posterior fontanel located at the back of the skull. The skull also features two smaller fontanels on each side.
Multiple suture craniosynostosis refers to the premature fusing of more than one of the sutures in a baby’s skull, which differs from the more common premature fusion of just one cranial suture. Syndromic craniosynostosis is an uncommon kind of craniosynostosis that is brought on by specific hereditary disorders.
Surgery is used to treat craniosynostosis and restore the head’s normal form while promoting brain growth. Early detection and therapy provide your baby’s developing brain enough room to grow and develop.
Though severe cases of neurological impairment may result, the majority of kids recover from surgery with satisfactory cosmetic results and normal cognitive development. Early detection and intervention are essential.
Usually present at birth, craniosynostosis symptoms intensify in the first few months of your baby’s life. The number of sutures that are fused and the stage of brain development at which they happen determine the symptoms and severity. Among the warning signs and symptoms are:
There are different types of craniosynostosis, each presenting in a distinct form. One cranial suture is typically fused in the majority of cases. The fusion of several sutures occurs in some complex cases of craniosynostosis. Syndromic craniosynostosis, which refers to multiple suture craniosynostosis, is frequently connected to hereditary disorders.
Depending on which sutures are impacted, different types of craniosynostosis have different names. There are various forms of craniosynostosis.
In addition to craniosynostosis, there are other factors that can contribute to abnormal head shape in infants. For example, spending too much time lying on one side of the head can cause flattening of the back of the head. To address this issue, regular repositioning or, in severe cases, helmet therapy (cranial orthosis) may be recommended to help reshape the head and restore a more balanced appearance.
During routine check-ups, your child’s healthcare provider will typically monitor the size and shape of their head. If you have concerns about your baby’s head size or shape, it’s important to bring it up with your pediatrician. They can provide further evaluation and guidance on appropriate treatment options if necessary.
While the exact cause of craniosynostosis is often unknown, genetic issues can sometimes play a role.
In rare instances, certain circumstances during pregnancy raise a baby’s likelihood of having craniosynostosis. These consist of:
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