Craniosynostosis is a condition in which the sutures (growth seams) in an infant's skull close prematurely. If the growth seams are closed the size of the skull cannot grow to accommodate the rapidly increasing size of the brain causing the pressure inside of the head to increase and the skull or facial bones to change from a normal, symmetrical appearance.
Premature closure can involve any suture of the cranial vault or cranial base. When only one suture is prematurely fused, the condition is referred to as simple craniosynostosis. When two or more sutures are affected, it is referred to as multiple-suture synostosis.
Syndromic craniosynostosis is caused by an inherited or genetic condition and characterized by a collection of physical and developmental features that have a common cause. Those most commonly treated by plastic surgeons include:
Non-syndromic craniosynostosis is a non-inherited condition that generally only involves the fusion of a single suture in the skull. Non-syndromic craniosynostosis is not associated with other physical and developmental anomalies and is much more common than syndromic disorders.
The exact diagnosis and appearance of children with non-syndromic craniosynostosis depends on which suture is affected. The Inova Children's Hospital Craniofacial Program treats children with many forms of non-syndromic craniosynostosis, including:
- Unicoronal synostosis (anterior plagiocephaly or unilateral coronal synostosis)
- Bicoronal synostosis (brachycephaly)
- Sagittal synostosis (scaphocephaly)
- Metopic synostosis (trigonocephaly)
- Lambdoid synostosis (posterior plagiocephaly)
- Complex multiple suture synostosis