Parents with children who have been diagnosed with craniosynostosis often undergo extreme worry and stress regarding the health of their child. However, learning about the condition can help alleviate some of the fears parents have for their child's health.
The following are five things parents should be aware of regarding craniosynostosis:
Children affected with craniosynostosis sometimes show no symptoms at the time of birth.
Doctors sometimes are not aware that a child has craniosynostosis until some time after birth. It can take several months for symptoms of the condition to manifest.
Symptoms of craniosynostosis include unusual head and facial shape and a soft spot on the skull that closes prematurely.
Craniosynostosis is most commonly detected when an abnormal shape of the head is noticed in newborn and very young infants.
Affected newborns tend to have facial features that show an abnormally high level of asymmetry. Also, affected newborns often have an abnormal protrusion in the skull where a skull suture is fusing together improperly.
Healthy newborn infants have a soft spot in the skull at the top of the head that doesn't usually harden until the child reaches at least seven months of age. However, this soft spot will frequently harden prematurely in infants who are afflicted with craniosynostosis.
Mild cases of craniosynostosis may require no treatment.
Some children who are affected by craniosynostosis will not require any treatment. Mild cases may not impact a child's brain development and facial features significantly enough to warrant treatment. Less severe cases might also be sufficiently remedied by treatment involving a molded helmet that can correct skull shape and facilitate proper brain growth.
Some cases of craniosynostosis require treatment to prevent more severe complications.
Potentially severe complications can develop if more serious cases of craniosynostosis are not treated. Untreated craniosynostosis can, in some cases, lead to vision problems, brain damage, eating difficulties, and sleeping problems in afflicted children.
Surgery is the main course of treatment in patients with craniosynostosis where treatment is necessary.
Surgical treatment is typically necessary for children with cases of craniosynostosis that are likely to significantly impact their development.
Surgical treatment is aimed at restoring a normal head shape to a baby's skull and ensuring that the baby's brain will be able to develop properly.
The prognosis for treatment can vary widely depending on the severity of the individual case. In children with only a single suture in the skull impacted, the prognosis is typically good and surgery is usually successful. However, the prognosis may be poorer for affected children that have multiple sutures in the skull impacted by the condition.