Pediatric Cleft and Craniofacial Anomalies Center

What is Endoscopic Craniosynostosis Repair?

Diagram of skull sutures

The best way to treat craniosynostosis is to perform surgery and allow the brain the room that it needs to grow, as well as direct the growth - and shape - of the head. Endoscopic surgery is the newest technique for treatment of craniosynostosis, and is minimally invasive. It creates incisions about 2 cm in length rather than the traditional ear-to-ear incision. Through this minimally-invasive approach, the fused growth plate is accessed and the deformed skull released.

There are many potential advantages to this endoscopic, minimally invasive surgery. The surgery has less blood loss than the traditional repair and may prevent the need for blood transfusion during the surgery. The endoscopic technique also results in less postoperative swelling, decreases operation time, and hospital stay by several days. The other advantage to endoscopic surgery is that there are no internal screws or plates that are required to hold the bone in place. This decreases the risk of plate infection, swelling, growth restriction, or allergic reaction in your child. We are happy to discuss the advantages of minimally invasive craniosynostosis surgery compared to the classic craniosynostosis repair with you at time of your consultation.

Eligibility for Endoscopic Craniosynostosis Repair

This minimally-invasive procedure is available for any patient, 5 months of age and under, with a type of craniosynostosis. Endoscopic craniosynostosis correction works well for single suture fusions, such as sagittal craniosynostosis, metoptic craniosynostosis, or coronal cranio-synostosis. It is also useful for the treatment of multi-suture craniosynostosis.

Helmet Therapy after Craniosynostosis Release

Child wearing therapeutic helmet

Endoscopic Craniosynostosis repair MUST be combined with the use of a molding helmet in order to normalize skull shape after the surgery. In fact, the surgery itself should be considered only a release of the restricted skull growth plates. The helmet then guides the shape of the growing brain over the first year of life. Immediately after the surgery, you will note improvement in the shape of your child's head. However, the final shape will not be seen until after 6-8 months of helmet therapy. Our orthotics team will obtain a laser surface scan of your child's skull and custom fit a helmet to his or her unique skull shape. The helmet is worn at all times and adjusted on a weekly basis.

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