Craniosynostosis Overview



Craniosynostosis is a birth defect that involves the premature closure of the fibrous joints between the skull growth plates. These are called cranial sutures, and if they fuse together too early – before the brain is fully formed – it can lead to a misshapen appearance of the head.

While it is possible for someone to be genetically predisposed to this situation, it is more often a spontaneously occurrence, usually as a result of an in-utero growth constraint.

At the Cleft & Craniofacial Institute of Utah we will work closely with you to make sure you understand your treatment options and how we can help.

Get Treatment for These Types of Craniosynostosis:

There are several different types of craniosynostosis, and at the Cleft & Craniofacial Institute of Utah we can provide treatment for:

Our Treatment Goals

The main goal of craniosynostosis surgery is to correct the head’s shape and give the brain a chance to grow and develop normally. However, if it is a very mild case, surgery may not even be necessary, and a special helmet may be all that is required to reshape the head.

Usually, neurological damage from one of these types of craniosynostosis only occurs in the most severe cases. Most children who have experienced this situation and have received surgical treatment will develop their cognitive abilities normally and the skull will continue to develop symmetrically.

Our Expertise

Cleft Lip/Palate

 Cleft lips and palates are one of the most common birth anomalies that affect about 1/600 newborn babies in the United States and around 1/500 in the state of Utah.  Clefts can range from quite mild to fairly severe.  Most of the time they are an isolated anomaly, but are also associated with a number of gentic syndromes.  Depending on what structures are involved dictates the complexity of the treatment plan.   Our team works together with you to make a customized plan for  your baby.  Even the most severe of cases should be able to be treated with only a few surgical interventions by a well coordinated and efficient team.






The skull is made up of several different bones that are joined together by growth plates called "sutures."  Craniosynostosis is a condition where one or more of these sutures fuse prematurely causing an abnormal head shape, decreased cranial volume, and the possiblilty of raised intracranial pressure.  The treatment of craniosynostosis is surgical and the goals of surgery are to increase the volume of the skul and to correct the abnormal appearance of the head shape.  There are two methods of surgical correction: open vault reconstruction and strip craniectomy.  Dr. Griner's extensive training allows him to perform these complex procedures without the need for blood transfusions and spending only 1-2 nights in the hospital. 



There are many syndromes that can affect the shape of the head and face and include Aperts, Crouzon, Pfieffer, Treacher Collins, and many others.  Most of these syndromes include many other complex anomalies and need to be treated in a coordinated approach in order to reduce the number of operations the child will need.  These syndromes are rare and require specialists that are very familiar with the intricacies of each syndrome.  Dr. Griner's unique training provided him with extensive experience with craniofacial syndromes and makes him the premier choice to guide the management of your child's needs in Utah.





Ear Deformities

Ear deformities range from mild changes in shape to the complete abscence of an ear and deafness.  Mild deformities can be treated in the first few weeks of life while others will require reconstructive surgery and hearing aids.  No matter the severity, our specialists work together to provide normal appearance and improved hearing.


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