When a baby is born, his/her skull is made up of seven separate bones that haven’t yet fused together. Normally, fusion happens gradually and isn’t completely fused until the late teen years. However, craniosynostosis is a birth defect where two or more of those bones close prematurely before the baby’s brain is fully formed.
A baby’s brain grows quickly over the first two years of life, so it’s important that the bones remain open. So as the brain growth continues, the heads of infants with craniosynostosis take on a misshapen appearance. Left untreated, the condition can interfere with normal growth of the brain and skull.
Generally speaking, the signs of craniosynostosis are typically noticeable at birth, but they’ll become more apparent during the first few months of a baby’s life. Look for:
Treatment of craniosynostosis almost always involves surgery to correct the shape of the head and allow for normal brain growth. Surgical treatment allows your baby’s brain adequate space to grow and develop.
Although neurological damage can occur, most children have normal cognitive development and achieve good cosmetic results after surgery. Early diagnosis and treatment are key.