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Craniosynostosis - An Overview

Posted Oct 09 2012 2:47am
Craniosynostosis is an abnormal condition that is seen at birth. Children with this condition have a head that is abnormally shaped. This is due to the closure of the sutures on the skull, earlier than normal. When the baby is 36 months old, the size of the brain is thrice the original size. Sutures act as a support to the skull so that the growing brain is accommodated and expanded. If the skull closes earlier than normal, it leads to Craniosynostosis. The causes are still not known but exposure to teratogens and genetics are found to be responsible for this defect.
 
  How to Know Whether the Child Has Craniosynostosis
 
 An unusual head shape is the most obvious sign of Craniosynostosis. You may notice that the head of the baby grows slowly or may not grow at all, even with progression of time. Sometimes, a raised ridge may also be found on the sutures that are affected. These signs are not found immediately at birth, but can be seen later as time progresses. A doctor should be consulted immediately if you find that the head of the baby is of an unusual shape or is experiencing abnormal growth.
 
  Is Treatment of This Condition Possible?
 
 Treatment is not required if the cases are very mild. This is mainly because the health of the baby is not affected much and the skull is covered eventually with the development of hair. However, in more severe cases, surgery may be required. The main aim of craniosynostosis surgery is reducing the internal pressure on the brain and providing enough space for the proper development of the brain.
 
 The ideal time for performing the surgery is during infancy. However, the timing and the type would depend on the extent of the condition. When done when the child is prior to three months of age, the procedure will be less invasive and therefore only less blood loss and a shorter hospital stay are involved. Children with multiple suture synostosis will require emergency treatment during the first two weeks of their life. Surgeons advise early surgical intervention because the skull bones are easier to work with at this young age. Moreover, the covering of the brain or the dura can make bone on its own. Usually, only a single surgery is required to rectify simple craniosynostosis. Some children may require minor alterations when they are four or five years old.
 
 The surgeons who perform the operation are usually those specialized in head surgeries, face surgeries and brain surgeries. The experience often takes an emotional toll and can develop a lot of anxiety among parents. A reliable plastic surgeon should be consulted immediately, so that the reconstructive surgery can be done at the right time. The surgeon can also recommend good support groups in the community for providing assistance with the situation.
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