Welcoming a new child into the world is one of the most exciting and challenging events an individual can experience. As parents, we hope for the best for our children’s health and development. When a baby is born with a physical or developmental defect, it can create a great deal anxiety, particularly if surgery is needed.
Craniosynostosis is a congenital condition that affects the proper growth of a baby’s head. If your infant has been diagnosed with craniosynostosis, cranial vault remodeling surgery will be needed in order to correct the condition.
When a baby is born, the bones in the top part of the skull (the cranium) are separated. Seams between these bones, called sutures, allow the bones to grow. This enables the cranium to create room for the rapidly growing brain. If one or more of the sutures is fused or closed, it prevents the head from growing normally. The result is a distorted head shape.
An abnormally shaped head is the most obvious indication of craniosynostosis. The condition is typically diagnosed by physical examination and can be confirmed by getting simple skull x-rays. In most instances, a baby with craniosynostosis will need to undergo surgery. Depending on the individual case and the age of the child, two types of surgery can be performed to address the deformity. Endoscopic craniosynostosis repair is performed if the baby is young and the cranial bones are still thin and pliable. Endoscopic repair is performed thought small incisions using a small camera (endoscope). Open cranial vault remodeling is performed on older children who are diagnosed later in life. Open cranial vault remodeling requires a larger incision and the removal and reconstruction of the abnormally positioned bones.
Cranial vault remodeling is a surgical procedure that can be performed to restructure the bones in the cranium. The goal of the procedure is to create a normal looking head and to give the brain the room it needs to grow and develop normally.
During the procedure, a craniofacial surgeon will remodel the bones in order to correct the deformity and so that the cranium can accommodate the growing brain. This involves removing, reorienting and reshaping abnormally positioned bone in the skull in order to create a normal head shape. The bones are secured in place with absorbable screws and plates, which will dissolve in 12 to 18 months.
After surgery, a 3-5 day hospital stay is necessary so the child can begin healing and be monitored. Endoscopic craniosynostosis repair and cranial vault remodeling procedures should be performed as early as possible as the head shape tends to worsen with time.
If you baby has a skull deformity, it is important to consult with a multidisciplinary team, including a plastic surgeon who specializes in pediatric reconstructive surgery. The craniofacial surgeon, in conjunction with a pediatric neurosurgeon, will determine the best course of action and surgical plan.
Dr. Robert Morin is a craniofacial surgeon in New York City and Hackensack New Jersey who routinely performs surgery on children, treating such conditions as cleft lip, cleft palate, ear reconstruction and cranial vault remodeling. He understands how overwhelming surgery can be for both parents and children and works with compassion to ensure that all questions and concerns are adequately addressed. Contact Dr. Morin’s Manhattan or Hackensack office to schedule a craniosynostosis and reconstructive surgery consultation for your child.