Craniosynostosis Surgery to Correct Congenital Deformity of the Skull
Posted Oct 15 2012 2:48am
The normal skull is comprised of several plates of bone that are separated by sutures. In a child affected by craniosynostosis, the sutures close prematurely, thereby affecting normal brain and skull development. Craniosynostosis surgery is often recommended to treat this congenital deformity of the skull. The presence of other medical conditions, the child’s age, and the preference of the caretaker are the main factors that are considered to determine the type of surgery. Two common types of craniosynostosis surgery are:
• Traditional surgery or calvarial vault remodeling • Endoscopic surgery which is minimally invasive
Calvarial Vault Remodeling
Of the various surgical options that are available, traditional reconstructive surgery is a feasible alternative and performed when the baby is older than six months. The plastic surgeon makes an incision in the scalp. The area which is prematurely fused or abnormally fused is moved to correct the shape of the head. The skull is also reshaped to give it a rounder contour. This surgery may take up to 8 hours. The patient may need to spend one night in intensive care as well as 5 days in the hospital for post-surgical monitoring. Though the deformity may be noticed very early, this surgery is usually performed when the baby is older, as some blood loss is expected, often necessitating blood transfusion. Post-surgery, there could be some temporary swelling on the face. Unlike the other surgeries, additional steps are not required post-surgery, unless the condition recurs. The incision site is checked by the neurosurgeon after a month.
Endoscopic or Minimally Invasive Craniosynostosis Surgery
This type of craniosynostosis surgery is usually performed by the plastic surgeon, when the baby is about 3 months old. It is performed using an endoscope or a small tube through which the surgeon can view the inside and outside of the scalp through the incisions. The closed suture is opened by the surgeon to stimulate the normal growth of the baby’s brain. The surgery takes about an hour and involves less blood loss in comparison with the traditional surgery. A night’s stay at the hospital is usually required. Following the surgery, a molding helmet may have to be worn to allow the skull to attain a normal shape. The neurosurgeon has to be visited every three months to check progress with reshaping.
Expert Plastic Surgeon for the Best Outcome
There are different ways in which craniosynostosis may affect the child. In some cases the forehead may take a triangular shape. In others, the condition may cause deformities of the eye, nose and forehead. The most serious condition is when the sutures of the cranium fuse prematurely. It is therefore crucial to locate a plastic surgeon who is specialized in craniosynostosis surgery. This will ensure the right diagnosis and treatment.