Surgery for Sagittal Craniosynostosis aims to release the fused sagittal suture, and remodel the skull to a more normal shape. If your child has Craniosynostosis Dr O’Mahony will discuss the surgical treatment with you in detail. All procedures are undertaken in conjuction with a Paediatric Neurosurgeon and Dr O'Mahony will refer you to a Neurosurgeon after your first consultation.
Total cranial vault remodelling is the procedure most commonly undertaken to treat Sagittal Craniosynostosis. Surgery is usually undertaken between 7 and 12 months of age. It involves removing the bone plates of a child’s skull, remodelling them and replacing them to produce a more normal head shape and dimensions. The bones are then held in place by dissolvable plates and screws or metal wires. The operation takes approximately 4 hours, your child will spend the 1st night in intensive care and approximately a week in hospital. A blood transfusion is always required. This procedure has been successfully undertaken in Queensland for many years, with very good results. It is suitable for all children with Sagittal Craniosynostosis, or those with fusion of more than one suture.
Spring Cranioplasty is a newer procedure that was developed in the late 1990’s in Sweden. It is routinely used to treat Sagittal Craniosynostosis in other states of Australia, in New Zealand, and around the world. It involves a single cut to the skull bone in the region of the fused suture. 2 or 3 expanding metal wires (known as ‘Springs’) are then placed across that cut to gradually expand the skull. The Springs stay in place under the skin for about 4 months and require a second short operation to remove them. The initial surgery takes approximately 2 hours, requires one night in intensive care and 3-4 days in hospital. A blood transfusion is required in approximately 50% of cases.
Spring Cranioplasty is only appropriate in some babies with Sagittal Craniosynostosis. Babies who are older (over about six months) or have severe forehead prominences as a result of the Sagittal Craniosynostosis may be better treated with the traditional operation if their abnormal head shape has progressed too far to be adequately corrected by Spring surgery.