Craniosynostosis is a birth defect that causes the sutures (the soft tissues between the bones of a child’s skull) to fuse too early, causing pressure on the brain. These sutures typically close around 2 years of age allowing room for the brain to grow before the bones of the skull come together.
This condition causes the baby’s head to have an abnormal shape. If left untreated, other problems can develop due to the lack of space for the growing brain.
Signs & Symptoms
The signs of craniosynostosis are usually present at the time of birth. These symptoms include:
- Abnormal head shape
- No soft spot on the skull (no fontanelle)
- Slow growth of head
Causes & Risks
The cause of craniosynostosis is unknown. It may be caused by:
- Abnormal genes passed down from parent to child (inherited)
- Genetic syndromes or disorders, such as an abnormally small head (microcephaly) or excess cerebrospinal fluid in the brain (hydrocephalus)
- Metabolic diseases, such as thyroid problem or rickets
If left untreated, the following problems may develop:
- Developmental delays
- Feeding problems
- Delays in learning
- Hearing loss
- Increased pressure inside the skull
- Brain damage
Diagnosis & Treatment
Craniosynostosis is diagnosed with a physical exam to feel for hard, bony ridges in your baby’s skull along with several measurements to compare the placement of his or her eyes and ears. Other exams include:
- Xrays or CT scans
- Blood work
Treatment for craniosynostosis commonly involves surgery to increase the volume of the skull which reduces pressure on brain and improves the abnormal shape of the head. Surgical intervention during the first year of life ensures that your baby’s brain has room to grow normally.
At UChicago Medicine, our dedicated neurosurgeons are here to help. For more information about craniosynostosis and the resources we have available, please call the Margaret Hackett Family Program (MHFP) at 773-795-0622, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Craniofacial Anomalies Multidisciplinary Program (CAMP)
Our Craniofacial Anomalies Multidisciplinary Program (CAMP), one of the largest in the region, provides a thorough, team-based approach for the evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of children with craniosynostosis.Learn more about our CAMP program
Request an Appointment
You can also make an appointment with our providers by:
– Scheduling a virtual video visit to see a provider from the comfort of your home
– Requesting an online second opinion from our specialists
– Filling out an online questionnaire (e-visit) to get a same-day diagnosis and treatment for common conditions.
To speak to someone directly, please call 1-773-702-6222. If you have symptoms of an urgent nature, please call your doctor or go to the emergency room immediately.
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