Cranio – aka craniosynostosis, is when a baby’s skull fuses prematurely. The physical result of cranio is a misshapen head. The more serious complication of cranio is that the growing brain may not have the space it needs to grow. It is very rare that cranio can go left untreated. Without adequate space for the brain to grow and develop there are serious medical issues, including death that can occur.
The basic types of cranio are:
- Metopic synostosis – a fused suture (joint between two skull bones) in the front of the head, resulting in a pointed forehead
- Sagittal synostosis – a fused suture on top of the head from front to back, resulting in an elongated head, the most common type of synostosis
- Coronal synostosis – a fused suture on either or both sides of the head, near the front, resulting in an elevated and flattened eye socket
- Lambdoid synostosis – a fused suture on either or both sides of the head, near the rear, resulting in a misshapen back of the head
There are two types of surgery used to treat craniosynostosis, endoscopic and cranial vault reconstruction. Endoscopic surgery is less invasive and is typically used on younger infants. Cranial vault reconstruction (CVR) is more invasive and involves creating an incision along the outside of the head, reaching from ear to ear, and physically separating the skull.