Craniosynostosis - Topic Overview
How is craniosynostosis diagnosed?
You or your
doctor may notice that your baby has an odd-shaped head at birth, shortly after
birth, or later at a well-child checkup.
Just because your baby has an oddly
shaped head doesn't mean that he or she has craniosynostosis. Head shape
may be affected by how your baby was positioned in your uterus, the birth
process, or your baby's sleep position. Talk to your doctor if you are
concerned about the shape of your baby's head.
Your doctor will:
- Look at each side of your baby's face and
- Measure your baby's head.
- Feel the sutures and
soft spots (fontanelles) on the skull.
- Feel the top and sides of the head, where sutures are located, for unusual ridges or
Your baby's doctor may also order a skull
CT scan, or
How is it treated?
Surgery is the usual treatment to
craniosynostosis. It's usually done in the
first year of life. The surgeon removes strips of bone in the skull
to create artificial
sutures. This surgery prevents or relieves pressure on the brain and allows the skull to expand normally. It also corrects the shape of your baby's head.
The earlier your child has surgery, the better the results. If there is
pressure on the brain, your child needs surgery right away. If your baby
doesn't seem to have pressure on the brain, your doctor may advise you to wait
and see if the head shape returns to normal without surgery. Your child
may wear a special helmet or other device to help reshape the skull. But your
child may still need surgery later.
If your child needs surgery,
talk with your doctor about what to expect.
It may help to see some before-and-after pictures of other children who have had the same type
of surgery so that you are prepared for how your child will look right after
the surgery. There may be a lot of swelling and bruising at first.
Being involved in your baby's care while he or she is in the hospital may help you feel more comfortable when you take your baby home. You'll need to know how to care for your baby's incision and what problems to watch for. Problems after surgery aren't common.
It's normal to feel a wide range of emotions when your child has a problem like craniosynostosis. Counseling or a support group can help.