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Craniosynostosis is the early closure of one or more of the skull's growth centers. The growth centers, called cranial sutures, normally appear as gaps between the different bones of the developing skull. Activity at the cranial sutures allows growth and development of the underlying brain.


During the first two years of life, an infant's brain undergoes a remarkable period of growth, increasing in volume almost 300 percent. If one or more of the cranial sutures close prematurely, the skull's growth will be altered, resulting in a misshapen appearance. Early closure of multiple cranial sutures can result in increased pressure on the brain, as well as the nerve to the eye responsible for vision (optic nerve). As a result, a child may experience developmental delays, partial or total blindness, and in the rare instance death. Therefore, early diagnosis is critical.


The treatment for craniosynostosis is surgical. The deformed skull bones are first removed to release the pressure on the brain. They are then reshaped, contoured and replaced to create a more normal appearance. Ideally, infants should undergo repair between four and eight months of age.


Approximately one infant in every thousand will have premature closure of cranial suture associated with a skull deformity. However, most abnormal skull shapes at birth are caused by the position of the infant's head within the womb or possible birth trauma. This type of deformity usually corrects itself over the first several months of life. Most cases of isolated cranisynostosis have no known cause. There are however, congenital syndromes that craniosynostosis may be associated with. An infant with suspected craniosynostosis should be referred for evaluation. I will perform a thorough examination, and possibly recommend a three dimensional CT scan of the craniofacial skeleton.


Please contact me at 515-421-4299 if you have any questions or to schedule an appointment.   




wdf  cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery       515.421.4299

2600 Grand Avenue Suite 125

Des Moines, Iowa 50312



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