Sagittal craniosynostosis (SC) is the most commonly encountered form of craniosynostosis. Despite its relative frequency, there remains significant heterogeneity in both operative management and follow-up between centers and a relative paucity of long-term outcome data in the literature. At the authors’ institution, families of children presenting with SC are offered the following options: 1) conservative management with ophthalmic surveillance, 2) minimally invasive surgery at < 6 months of age (spring-assisted cranioplasty [SAC]) or 3) calvarial vault remodeling at any age (CVR). The authors reviewed outcomes for all children presenting with SC during a 5-year period, regardless of the treatment received.
Consecutive children born between January 1, 2008, and December 31, 2012, presenting with SC were identified, and detailed chart reviews were undertaken. Demographic, surgical, perioperative, head shape, scar, and neurodevelopmental (behavioral, education, speech, and language) data were analyzed. The cohort was divided by type of surgery (none, SAC, or CVR) and by age at surgery (early, defined as ≤ 6 months; or late, defined as > 6 months) for comparison purposes.
A total of 167 children were identified, 129 boys and 38 girls, with a median age at presentation of 5.0 (range 0.4–135) months. Three families opted for conservative management. Of the 164 children who underwent surgery, 83 underwent SAC, 76 underwent CVR, and 5 underwent a "hybrid" procedure (CVR with springs). At a median age of 7.0 (range 0.5–12.3) years, there was no significant difference in concerns regarding head shape, scar, or neurodevelopmental outcomes between the early and late intervention groups over all procedures performed, or between the early or late SAC and CVR cohorts. There were more head shape concerns in the SAC group than in the CVR group overall (25.7% vs 11.8%, respectively; p = 0.026), although most of these concerns were minor and did not require revision.
In this cohort, regardless of operative intervention and timing of intervention, infants achieved similar neurodevelopmental outcomes. Minimally invasive surgery (SAC) appears to result in less complete correction of head shape than CVR, but this may be balanced by advantages in reduced operative time, hospitalization, and blood loss. SAC was equal to CVR in neuropsychological outcomes.