Our Center for Endoscopic and Open Craniosynostosis Surgery specializes in diagnosing, treating and developing advanced treatment methods for infants with various forms of craniosynostosis. University Health System, in partnership with UT Health San Antonio, is renowned for its innovative pediatric neurosurgery program. Families count on us to bring answers to complex questions. Our skilled neurologists and neurosurgeons work together to develop a treatment plan to address the medical needs of your child.
Craniosynostosis is a head deformity that occurs when the sutures in a baby’s head join together too soon. Immediately following birth, your baby’s brain undergoes a rapid phase of growth and development. A newborn’s brain doubles in size in nine months and triples in 36 months.
Normally, your baby’s skull expands as the brain grows. A newborn’s skull is not a single piece of bone, it’s made up of several bones which are held together by fibrous-like hinges called “sutures.” These sutures respond to brain growth by stretching and producing new bone, allowing the skull to grow along with the underlying brain.
If any of the sutures close too early, before birth or a few months after birth, craniosynostosis occurs. The brain continues to grow at a fast rate. If one or more suture lines in the skull fuse together before your baby is about two years old, it prevents proper bone growth. It can also limit or slow the growth of the infant’s brain. This causes the brain to take the path of least resistance. Over a short time, the shape of the brain, skull and even face can become distorted.
Positional plagiocephaly usually develops when a baby prefers to lay his or her head in the same position when sleeping or resting. This can cause a flattening on the back of the head. In positional plagiocephaly, [link to plagiocephaly page] the skull sutures are not prematurely closed. It’s mostly a cosmetic concern. This condition does not negatively impact brain growth or development. It is frequently corrected by using a cranial remolding helmet.
Craniosynostosis occurs in approximately one out of every 2,500 live births. It affects males twice as often as females. It usually happens by chance with no known genetic cause, but in some families, craniosynostosis is inherited by passing on specific genes.
Nonsyndromic craniosynostosis is the most common type of craniosynostosis, and its cause is unknown. It’s not inherited.
Syndromic craniosynostosis is caused by certain genetic syndromes, such as Apert, Pfeiffer, Crouzon or Muenke syndrome.