KidsMD Health Topics

Craniosynostosis in Children

  • In the midst of all of the joy you feel as a new parent, learning that your child has a craniofacial deformity—especially one like craniosynostosis that may require surgery—can be overwhelming. Your list of questions may seem endless: What exactly is craniosynostosis?How serious is it? Is my child at risk for developmental problems? How will this affect his daily life? 

    Learning the basics about craniosynostosis is a good first step. 

    • Craniosynostosis is a condition in which the fibrous joints, called sutures, between the plates of the skull fuse too early during a child’s development.
    • A child with craniosynostosis may have problems with brain and skull growth, possibly leading to developmental delays and cognitive impairment.
    • Some children with craniosynostosis develop abnormally high pressure inside the skull, called intracranial pressure. This can cause serious neurological complications if left untreated.
    • Craniosynostosis can cause a misshapen appearance of the head and skull.
    • Craniosynostosis is often noticeable at birth, but can also emerge in older infants.
    • Sometimes, it runs in families—but most often, it appears to occur randomly.
    • Craniosynostosis affects more boys than girls.
    • Many infant skull shape irregularities are actually due to a condition called plagiocephalywhich is related to the baby’s position during sleep—and not craniosynostosis. Plagiocephaly is a very different disorder, and does not require surgery to treat.
    • Surgery is the recommended treatment option for most types of craniosynostosis, in order to help reduce intracranial pressure and correct the deformity. 
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