What is Craniosynostosis?

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Source: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/craniosynostosis.html

OpenStax Anatomy and Physiology

Craniosynostosis is a condition which the suture lines in the skull closed prematurely. This results in the deformity and abnormal growth of the skull. The usual cause is either bone ossification defects or failure of the brain to grow normally. Genetic factors are considered but the cause is still unknown. Craniosynostosis is a common condition which happens approximately once every 2000 births. Males have a higher risk than females. There are two types of the condition namely primary craniosynostosis which involves early fusion of one cranial suture and complex craniosynostosis which involves early fusion of several sutures.

– What is the usual cause of craniosynostosis?

Primary craniosynostosis prevents the growth of the cranial bone and skull along that one suture line. As the brain and skull grow, some parts are diverted to the other regions of the head resulting in the abnormal enlargement of these areas. One of the type of craniosynostosis is called scaphocephaly where the head becomes long, narrow, and wedge-shaped and accounts to about 50 percent of craniosynostosis. Despite the fact of the abnormal head shape, the brain still has enough room to grow and will not cause any neurological issues.

– Does primary craniosynostosis causes any neurological issues?

In complex craniosynostosis, there are several suture lines prematurely close. The severity of the head deformity depends on the location and the number of associated suture lines. This type of craniosynostosis is more severe because it restricts the normal growth and development of the brain.

Surgery is the usual treatment for craniosynostosis. The treatment involves opening the fused suture which allow the cranial bones to recommence growth in this region. Some treatments require the removal of a skull part and replaced with an artificial plate. Performing the surgery right after birth gives the best outcome. Most children grow normally and do not exhibit neurological problems after treatment.

– What is the best treatment for complex craniosynostosis?


Betts, J. G., Young, K. A., Wise, J. A., Johnson, E., Poe, B., Kruse, D. H., … DeSaix, P. (n.d.). Anatomy and Physiology. Houston, Texas: OpenStax. Access for free at: https://openstax.org/details/books/anatomy-and-physiology