Every person’s skull is comprised of several plates of bone; when we are born, these plates are softer and are not yet fused together. As our brains grow, the skull is able to grow as well, due to the separate plates of bone the make up the skull. As adults, the plates of bone fuse together, but if the fusion occurs too early or in an abnormal way, it is known as craniosynostosis.
One of the biggest risks with craniosynostosis is pressure on a child’s growing brain. It can also affect eyesight, have neurological impacts, and result in skull and facial asymmetries. The surgeons at the Plastic Surgery Clinic of Chicago are board-certified to perform this complex pediatric procedure, and they perform the surgery using the most innovative and safest techniques possible.
Craniosynostosis repair is usually performed on children between nine and twelve months of age. In certain situations, treatment can be performed earlier at three months of age using less invasive techniques. Since craniosynostosis can affect a child’s development and growth, early detection and treatment is paramount.
Your pediatrician will be able to identify the symptoms and, through medical evaluation, the severity of the craniosynostosis. You should always consult with a pediatric neurosurgeon and a board-certified plastic surgeon before making the decision for your child to undergo craniosynostosis repair.
When you consult with a plastic surgeon, you will want to confirm that they have craniofacial surgical training and are experienced in treating pediatric patients with skull deformities caused by craniosynostosis. The Plastic Surgery Clinic of Chicago is comprised of expert plastic surgeons and staff that have years of expertise treating children and adults alike.
During the consultation, the plastic surgeon will give you an extensive overview of the procedure, the potential risks associated with it, and the recovery period. Our surgeons will create a personalized treatment plan that best fits your child’s needs.
The particular process of a craniosynostosis repair is largely dependent on the severity of the case. Sometimes a fairly simple endoscopic surgery is enough to correct the problem; in other cases, an approach known as an “open repair” must be performed.
The child is first put under general anesthesia. The surgeon then makes incisions, usually along the top of the scalp. The specific placement of the incisions depends on the location of the problem area. Bones in the skull are shifted, or in some cases, removed and reshaped. They are fastened together using resorbable plates and screws that allow the skull to expand as the brain grows; the body eventually absorbs the plates and screws over a period of one to two years after surgery.
Lastly, once the necessary corrections are made, the incisions are closed and sutured.
Children that undergo craniosynostosis repair recover in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). Further treatment may sometimes be necessary in the form of “helmet therapy,” a type of treatment in which a child is fitted with a customized helmet to make gentle, subtle corrections to the shape of the skull. The duration of helmet therapy is typically around three to six months, on average.
Every surgical procedure carries with it some potential risks. Those associated with craniosynostosis repair may include:
- Hematoma (blood clot)
The Plastic Surgery Clinic of Chicago takes every precaution to mitigate any complications. Our surgical procedures are always performed at top hospitals in Chicago and CMS or AAAASF-certified surgical centers for safety.
It is difficult to provide an approximate cost for craniosynostosis repair because the procedure varies greatly between patients. Be sure to discuss all costs with your plastic surgeon during your consultation. Your medical insurance may cover some or all of the cost associated with craniosynostosis repair. Contact your health insurance provider before undergoing the procedure.
Our top priority at the Plastic Surgery Clinic of Chicago is the wellbeing and safety of all of our patients, no matter the age. We specialize in pediatric procedures that very few other plastic surgery centers offer, and we never perform a procedure unless we are certain that it is the best treatment plan for your child. If you have questions about craniosynostosis repair or would like to talk to a surgeon about treatment options, contact us by calling our office or using the form on the Contact Us page.