When the bones in a baby’s skull fuse together abnormally, the condition is called craniosynostosis. At St. Louis Children’s Hospital, we offer compassionate care for babies with all types of craniosynostosis, including those with multiple sutures and syndromes.
What Types of Craniosynostosis Does St. Louis Children’s Hospital Treat?
We have been treating craniosynostosis for over 35 years. As one of the oldest programs in the Midwest, we have a wealth of experience in treating all types of craniosynostosis.
We specialize in minimally invasive endoscopic repair procedures for both single-suture and multi-suture craniosynostosis. Specifically, we treat:
- Apert Syndrome
- Coronal Synostosis
- Crouzon Syndrome
- Lambdoid Craniosynostosis
- Metopic Synostosis
- Sagittal Craniosynostosis
- Minor suture synostosis
- Multi-suture craniosynostosis in which more than two bones of the skull fuse together prematurely
How Is Craniosynostosis Treated?
When the bones of a child’s skull fuse abnormally, surgery is the only answer. Our surgeons helped pioneer and refine minimally invasive craniosynostosis repair techniques, and we are experts at open surgery, too.
- Endoscopic craniosynostosis repair. This procedure is generally performed before your baby is six months old. Endoscopic surgery is minimally invasive, which means it uses a small scope and leaves only one or two tiny scars. After surgery, your baby will need to wear a helmet for several months. Learn more about post-surgical helmeting.
- Open craniosynostosis repair surgery. This classic surgical approach can be used on children of any age. It involves a larger scar plus the use of resorbable plates to hold the bones in place. There is no post-surgical helmeting required after an open craniosynostosis repair.
Why Choose St. Louis Children’s Hospital for Craniosynostosis Treatment?
We have served thousands of children from throughout the United States for over 35 years. Here are some other reasons to choose us:
- Experience. As the oldest program in the Midwest, we offer the most experienced care.
- Safety. We put patient safety above all else. During the entire history of our program, none of our patients has ever experienced a serious surgical complication. Learn more about craniosynostosis surgery safety at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
- Multidisciplinary approach. We view craniosynostosis treatment as a team effort. We bring together all the experts your child may need for ongoing care: plastic surgery, neurosurgery, developmental psychology, speech and language therapy, dentistry, orthodontics, ophthalmology, nursing, ear-nose-throat and genetics.
- Expertise. Our surgeons not only perform craniosynostosis surgeries, they teach others how to perform them. Our doctors regularly present papers on new research about best practices for craniosynostosis repair.
- Innovators. We developed the ‘St. Louis Protocol’ for post-surgical helmeting. Today, this protocol is used by doctors and cranial orthotists across the country.
- Convenience. If you suspect something is wrong with your baby, you want answers fast. We get you all the information you need on your very first visit. From imaging to a surgical consult, you will leave your appointment feeling confident you understand exactly what’s going on and what will happen next.
What Is Craniosynostosis?
Craniosynostosis occurs when the growth plates between the bones of an infant’s skull fuse together prematurely. The skull is made up of several separate bones that eventually come together to form the protective shell that covers the brain.
At birth, there is space between these bones. These spaces are called ‘sutures.’
As a baby grows, the bone plates fill up the suture area. By the time a baby reaches around two years of age, the metopic suture and the soft spot (fontanelle) are usually closed. The remaining sutures normally close during adulthood when brain and skull growth have been completed.
Sometimes the sutures fuse together before they should. When this happens, it is called craniosynostosis. This occurs in about 1 in 2000 births.
Craniosynostosis can put pressure on your child’s growing brain, possibly leading to problems with development. For this reason, craniosynostosis must be repaired surgically