Craniosynostosis | Testing and Diagnosis

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How is craniosynostosis diagnosed?

Many children with craniosynostosis have visible symptoms — such as a misshapen, enlarged or asymmetrical head — at birth. Other times, a child’s craniosynostosis is diagnosed during a routine physical examination. 

Your clinician may diagnose craniosynostosis based on his or her symptoms along with a detailed patient history and a full exam that includes a careful assessment of the shape of the skull.

In some cases, craniosynostosis may be diagnosed before birth by a prenatal ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

What tests will my child need?

To diagnose craniosynostosis, your child’s clinician may also use one or more of the following tests:

  • Computed tomography (CT) scans— CT scans use x-ray equipment and powerful computers to create detailed images of the head and brain, including skull sutures and bones. This is the main test used for craniosynostosis.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)— MRI uses a combination of electromagnets and radio waves to take detailed images of the brain.
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