What Is Sagittal Synostosis
Sagittal synostosis is the most common form of craniosynostosis, accounting for nearly 50% of all cases. Craniosynostosis refers to a condition in which the fibrous joints (the sutures) between the bones of a baby’s skull fuse premature.
The sagittal suture is the one that goes down the middle of the skull, all the way from the front to the back, and the growth of this suture that allows the skull to gain the necessary width.
If there is a premature fusion of the sagittal suture (which can happen when the skull grows to fast), it will be unable to widen properly, forcing other bones and sutures to make room for the growing brain. This causes the skull to be greater in length and narrower that average.
How We Treat Sagittal Synostosis
At the Cleft & Craniofacial Institute of Utah, we employ one of two common surgeries to treat sagittal synostosis.
- Strip Craniectomy. This is done in younger patients only, typically around the age of 3 months. Cuts are made along the fused sagittal suture. A period of therapeutic helmet molding is required for about 12 – 18 months after surgery.
- Subtotal Cranial Reconstruction. This surgery is typically performed when the child is between 3 – 9 months old. With this procedure, we can generally leave the forehead left to recontour on its own, so there is no need for a helmet after this surgery.
The treatment we specify will depend greatly on the age of the patient and the progression of the condition.