Symptom outcomes following cranial vault expansion for craniosynostosis in children older than 2 years.

Journal: Plastic And Reconstructive Surgery

Background: Most craniosynostosis cases are treated by cranial expansion before 1 year of age. Occasionally, patients present at a later age with nonspecific symptoms of increased intracranial pressure. The purpose of this study was to review the symptoms of patients undergoing late cranial vault expansion. In all cases, the indication for surgery was treatment of the cranial dysmorphology.

Methods: The authors performed a retrospective review of all patients (n = 17) undergoing cranial vault expansion from 2000 to 2007 aged older than 2 years (median, 7.4 years) for abnormal head shape who also reported preoperative symptoms consistent with increased intracranial pressure, including headaches, nausea or vomiting, or vision changes. Median follow-up was 30 months; 11 patients had nonsyndromic and six had syndromic craniosynostosis.

Results: Fourteen patients had headaches, nine had nausea and vomiting, and 11 had vision changes. Ten patients had signs of intracranial pressure elevation, such as a computed tomographic scan findings, papilledema, or both. Twelve of 14 patients had complete resolution of headaches following surgery and four had late mild recurrence. All patients with nausea and vomiting and nine of 11 patients with vision changes had resolution of symptoms.

Conclusions: The diagnosis of increased intracranial pressure in older children with craniosynostosis is difficult in the absence of papilledema or computed tomographic findings. Clinical symptoms frequently associated with increased intracranial pressure are improved with late cranial vault expansion and demonstrate a possible benefit beyond improvement in head shape.

Jeffrey Scott, Casey Isom, Joseph Gruss, Shahram Salemy, Richard Ellenbogen, Anthony Avellino, Craig Birgfeld, Richard Hopper