How is Craniosynostosis Diagnosed?
An infant’s skull is composed of several bony plates connected by a series of fibrous joints (called sutures). During normal growth, the sutures close together as the child develops, allowing room in the skull for the brain to fully form. Craniosynostosis is a condition in which the sutures close prematurely, inhibiting normal development of the brain and skull. This can cause surrounding bones to compensate for the restricted growth, leading to changes in the facial bones and skull shape.
Signs of craniosynostosis may be apparent at birth, but are typically more noticeable within a few months of development. Symptoms include a misshapen head, the feeling of a raised ridge along certain sutures, stunted growth of the head as the baby develops, or an unusual feeling on the fontanel (the soft spot on a baby’s skull). In most cases, craniosynostosis can be diagnosed based on a physical exam from a craniofacial plastic surgeon. During the examination, the surgeon will gently feel for ridges in the head and observe any deformities in the facial structure. Further diagnostic testing with x-rays or a CT scan can confirm the condition, although a CT scan is not always necessary. Your surgeon may also ask whether there is a family history of craniosynostosis, as some cases of craniosynostosis may have a genetic association. This is medically known as syndromic craniosynostosis, and is observed more commonly when multiple sutures have fused together rather than in cases of Single Suture Craniosynostosis.
For more information on craniosynostosis, or to schedule an appointment at The Craniofacial and Plastic Surgery Center, please contact our practice today.