Causes of Craniosynostosis

By causing the bones of the skull to fuse prematurely, craniosynostosis hinders the brain’s ability to grow naturally resulting in a misshapen head. In addition, limiting the skull’s capacity for the growing brain can lead to further underlying brain abnormalities.

There are three main types of craniosynostosis each affecting a different part of the skull. Sagittal synostosis affects the top of the head and causes a child’s head to grow in a long, narrow shape rather than a round, wide shape. Coronal synostosis affects the skull structure that spans across the head from one ear to the other. This form of craniosynostosis results in a flat forehead and raised eye sockets. Lastly, Bicoronal synostosis cause both coronal structure to fuse also resulting in a flat forehead.

Causes of craniosynostosis are classified as either syndromic or nonsyndromic. Syndromic causes are simply genetic complications and mutations. Nonsyndromic causes are those that are not genetics related. These include cell defects, irregular womb position, and medications. According to the website of Williams Kherkher, one medication that has been shown to cause craniosynostosis is Zoloft, the antidepressant. When used by mothers during the early stages of pregnancy, the drug can double the the risk of a child developing some form of craniosynostosis along with other birth defects.

Fortunately, complications associated with the birth defects can be eliminated or reduced through surgery. However, in order to see the best result, it is recommended that the surgery be conducted within the first year of the child’s life. Failure to do so can result in further skull and brain deformities. There are two methods of surgery. The traditional method requires two surgeons, a craniofacial surgeon and a neurosurgeon. For some, a less invasive method known as endoscopic surgery may be available. Because it is less invasive, the form of surgery is much quicker and may require less post-surgery monitoring.

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