The skull is made up of several ‘plates’ of bone which, when we are born, are not tightly joined together. The seams where the plates join are called ‘sutures’. As we grow older, the sutures gradually fuse (stick) together, usually after all head growth has finished. When a child has craniosynostosis, the sutures fuse before birth. It can affect one suture or several.
When one or more sutures fuse too soon, the space inside the skull cannot expand as a child grows. This can put pressure on the brain (intracranial pressure) which can have significant long-term effects.
Children aged under six months tend to have a sagittal craniectomy with barrel staving. This is also an alternative to para-sagittal osteotomy with insertion of springs operation. Older children aged around a year tend to have a total calvarial remodelling operation.