The skull of newborns consists of several soft bone plates that are extremely mobile. This ensures they are able to pass through the birth canal safely. As the baby grows, the bones eventually become fused together. When they fuse together too early, it can result in pediatric craniosynostosis.
This restrictive condition can impact the growth of the brain and lead to an abnormally shaped head. A doctor may recommend pediatric craniosynostosis surgery. Learning what to expect from this surgery can help ease some of your stress.
Types of Craniosynostosis Surgery
Two types of surgery are available to address craniosynostosis.
The traditional method of craniosynostosis surgery involves remodeling the cranial vault. This surgery is generally performed on babies between five and six months old. It involves an incision along the scalp line and removing any affected bone. The surgeon will then replace the bone, allowing space for the developing brain and creating an improved head shape.
Minimally Invasive Surgery
The second type of surgery, the minimally invasive option, is called an endoscopic craniectomy. This approach can be performed on babies up to three months of age. During this procedure, the surgeon will make very small incisions on the scalp and use a thin tube with a light, known as an endoscope, to see inside the baby’s scalp. The surgeon will then remove any affected bone. The baby will then have to wear a molding helmet, known as a cranial orthotic helmet, for a specific amount of time to reshape the head.
Traditional vs. Minimally Invasive
When determining which option will work best for your baby, it is important to consider their age. When comparing the two types of surgery, endoscopic procedures tend to require a shorter hospital stay and result in smaller incisions. There is also less blood loss during surgery.
Traditional surgery can last around six hours. After surgery, babies have to remain in the intensive care unit for up to 24 hours. This period is followed by a hospital’s pediatric unit stay for two to three days.
Discussing the options with your doctor to determine which surgery type will work best for your baby’s particular circumstances is important. If your baby has been diagnosed with craniosynostosis, contact Dr. Jeffrey James, MD, DDS, by calling 504-619-8700 or by filling out the online form to schedule a consultation to discuss your options.