Our surgeons are the most experienced in the region. Since 1978, we have served thousands of children. We teach other surgeons how to perform all types of craniosynostosis repairs and present papers and research to improve craniosynostosis care around the world.
Why Choose St. Louis Children’s Hospital for Endoscopic Craniosynostosis Repair Surgery?
The team at St. Louis Children’s Hospital was one of the very first to offer minimally invasive surgery for craniosynostosis. Since that first endoscopic procedure was performed in 2006, doctors affiliated with St. Louis Children’s Hospital have successfully treated hundreds of children with this technique.
Here are some other reasons to choose us:
Experience and Expertise
- High volume of surgeries. We perform more endoscopic craniosynostosis surgeries than any other facility in Missouri.
- Decades of experience. Our Cleft Palate and Craniofacial Institute was established in 1978. Parents and children from throughout the nation seek us out for our experience.
- Multidisciplinary follow-up care throughout childhood. Your child will be followed throughout childhood by all the experts the situation requires. This may include plastic surgery, neurosurgery, developmental psychology, speech and language, dentistry, orthodontics, ophthalmology, nursing, ear-nose-throat and genetics.
- Expert surgeons. Our doctors train other surgeons on best practices for endoscopic craniosynostosis repair. We are viewed as the national leaders in this type of surgery due to our long, successful history of performing it with superb outcomes.
- Nationally recognized leaders. We created the protocol for post-surgical helmeting. The ‘St. Louis Protocol’ is named after us and is used by surgeons across the nation as a standard of care after endoscopic craniosynostosis repair surgery.
- Endoscopic option for all types of craniosynostosis. Many surgeons will only perform endoscopic craniosynostosis surgery for a limited range of cases, such as single-suture repairs. Our experienced surgeons successfully treat all types of craniosynostosis, including multi-suture and syndromic cases, using the minimally invasive technique.
- Perfect safety record. In the history of our endoscopic craniosynostosis surgery program, we have never had a patient experience a serious complication.
- Advanced pediatric pain management techniques. While minimally invasive surgery generally is less painful for children, we keep patients overnight to ensure their comfort and well-being. Reduced pain means less stress and improved ability to heal.
- Low re-operation rate. Because of the depth of experience of our surgeons, our re-operation rate for endoscopic craniosynostosis surgery is very low. We rarely operate twice on the same child.
Why Should You Consider Endoscopic Surgery for Craniosynostosis?
There are tremendous benefits to endoscopic repair surgery. They include:
- Less blood loss/low blood transfusion rate (5 percent)
- Less pain/swelling
- No drains after surgery
- Shorter operative time
- Discharge home the day after surgery and typically no ICU stay
- Smaller scars (one- to two-inch incisions)
- Faster recovery times
- Low complication rates
Endoscopic repair is considered both safe and effective. Numerous scientific papers have shown that it provides outcomes that are just as successful as traditional, open craniosynostosis procedures.
What to Expect With Endoscopic Craniosynostosis Surgery at St. Louis Children’s Hospital
From your first appointment to your last, we will treat you and your child with compassion. Here’s what to expect:
- Diagnosis: During your initial consultation, we will perform any necessary imaging studies, give you the results and have you sit down with a surgeon to discuss what needs to happen next. You probably will leave with a surgery date already scheduled.
- Preparing for post-surgical helmeting: Prior to your baby’s surgery date, you will meet with a certified orthotist to create a custom helmet for your child. The orthotist can explain the post-surgery helmeting protocol with you and answer any questions you have.
- Pre-surgical preparations: When you arrive for surgery, you will meet with an anesthesia provider and other team members who will explain exactly how they do things. Eventually, your child will go back into the operating suite with a nurse.
- Post-surgery: After surgery is finished, the surgeon will find you in the waiting room to tell you how it went. Your child will spend a little time waking up from anesthesia and then will be transferred to a room for an overnight stay. You will be able to spend plenty of time with your little one during this period. In fact, we welcome parents to stay overnight.
- Going home: When your child is discharged, you will go home with all the post-op instructions you need to keep your baby safe and comfortable. You will also be able to directly call an experienced craniofacial physician at any hour with questions or concerns.