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Craniosynostosis (craniostenosis) is a condition that affects
the skull development of a fetus or newborn. One or more of the connections
(sutures) between plates in a fetus's or baby's skull close too soon, and the
bony plates of the skull fuse too early.
As a result of early
fusion of the plates, the affected area of the skull does not expand normally
with the growing brain, causing a misshapen head. In severe cases, usually when
craniosynostosis affects more than one suture, pressure builds on the brain and
may cause long-term complications. This is rare.
have craniosynostosis because they inherited certain genetic traits from one
or both parents. Other causes are not fully understood but may be related to
fetal growth or position or to other conditions during pregnancy.
An irregularly shaped head is the most noticeable feature of
craniosynostosis, and it is usually noticed at birth or shortly after birth.
Imaging tests (such as a skull X-ray, CT scan, and MRI) may be done to confirm
Craniosynostosis is treated with surgery to allow
the skull to return to its normal shape, grow normally, and prevent further
complications. In general, no lasting disfigurement occurs,
especially when surgery is done early.
May 11, 2012
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Chuck Norlin, MD - Pediatrics
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