OCT 05, 2016 4:13 AM PDT

Measurements Matter in Craniosynostosis

When a baby is first born, the skull is comprised of a few bone plates that gradually come together.  As the child grows, the plates fuse together at the top of the head and a single bony structure, the cranium, is created.  When this growth process doesn’t go as planned, it can be a problem. About one in 2,000 children experience bone fusion in the skull that happens too early. This is called craniosynostosis . It can cause skull deformities that can lead to learning impairments and other neurological and developmental issues
 Measuring the skull is a key part of evaluating patients
Surgery can correct the bones that fuse improperly, but knowing when to recommend surgery and when to wait is a matter of some controversy among craniofacial surgeons. New research from the University of Missouri School of Medicine about a way to measure the skull could help surgeons and patients know more and make a better decision on surgery for craniosynostosis.
 
Arshad Muzaffar, MD, professor in the Division of Plastic Surgery at the MU School of Medicine and senior author of the study on skull deformities said, "Children with a condition known as metopic craniosynostosis develop a vertical ridge in their foreheads due to a premature fusing of the cranium’s frontal bones. This can create increased pressure on the brain that can lead to neurodevelopmental disorders and learning problems. However, depending on the severity of the skull abnormality, recommendations on when to surgically intervene vary among craniofacial surgeons. At MU, we take a multidisciplinary approach that incorporates a measurement known as ‘cephalic width-intercoronal distance ratio.’"
 
104 infants diagnosed with metopic craniosynostosis and who received CT scans at MU between 2006 and 2012 were included in the study. The researchers divided the group into those who had been advised to have surgery and those who were in the category of “wait and see.” The size and development of the children’s skulls were recorded using standard measurements. In addition to the normal measurements taken, doctors looked at the “cephalic width-intercoronal distance” ratio. This measurement is a comparison between the width of the skull in the front and the back. Ratios above a certain value indicate surgery is the best option.
 
Muzaffar said that while the new measurement of the cephalic width-intercoronal distance is a valuable addition to the evaluation process for children with craniosynostosis it should not be viewed as a litmus test for surgical intervention. It’s a new piece of information that must be considered alongside other factors. In some cases of craniosynostosis, the frontal bone fusion is not as severe as in other patients and that’s why a ratio is a better tool for evaluation, since it compares the frontal bones with other parts of the skull.  
 
The study, "Evaluating Children with Metopic Craniosynostosis: The Cephalic Width-Intercoronal Distance Ratio" was published in The Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal. The video below explains craniosynostosis and what doctors and parents should look for.
 
Sources: University of Missouri School of Medicine,The Cleft Palate Craniofacial Journal
 Craniosynostosis.net
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
NOV 17, 2019
Neuroscience
NOV 17, 2019
Intelligence, Not Mindset, Predicts Learning Ability
New research has found that intelligence may play more of a role in a person’s ability to learn to play the piano than believing in oneself or having...
NOV 25, 2019
Neuroscience
NOV 25, 2019
Mapping the Maturation of Nerve Cells
Above: A video from Harvard Medical School describing how neural networks are studied, a summary of how they work, and why it is important.  Scientist...
DEC 09, 2019
Cell & Molecular Biology
DEC 09, 2019
Newly IDed Biomarker Can Predict Compulsive Drinking
Lots of people drink alcohol, but not everyone develops a drinking problem. Researchers are starting to learn more about why that is....
DEC 21, 2019
Drug Discovery & Development
DEC 21, 2019
Magic Mushrooms Pass First Clinical Trial Against Depression
With the efficacy of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as Prozac increasingly coming under question, the search for new pharmaceutical treatment...
DEC 27, 2019
Drug Discovery & Development
DEC 27, 2019
Acne Drug Linked to 10 Suicides
UK regulators claim to have found a link between at least ten suicides and a powerful acne drug, manufactured under the names Roaccutane and Accutane. Alth...
FEB 06, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
FEB 06, 2020
Taking a Closer Look at a Disease-Linked Protein
Misfolded proteins are closely linked to many neurodegenerative disorders. Researchers have learned more about one of those pathogenic proteins....
Loading Comments...