Do standard surgical techniques lead to satisfying aesthetic results in nonsyndromic sagittal suture synostosis?

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  • 1 Department of Neurosurgery, Medical University of Vienna, Austria
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OBJECTIVE

Surgical correction of synostotic cranial sutures is typically performed early in an affected child’s life. Depending on the severity of the cranial synostoses, different aspects of the surgical treatment may have varying degrees of importance. In this sense, the aesthetic appearance in children with normal neurological development in single-suture synostosis plays an important role in self-perception and social acceptance for both the patients themselves and their caregivers. Therefore, in this study, the authors aimed to evaluate the aesthetic outcome after surgical correction in a cohort of patients with nonsyndromic sagittal suture synostosis.

METHODS

Between December 2002 and December 2019, a total of 99 patients underwent surgical correction of a synostotic sagittal suture at the Medical University of Vienna. Depending on their age, patients underwent either an extended midline strip craniectomy (EMSC) (< 4 months) or a modified pi procedure (MPP) (≥ 4 months). After the surgical procedure, the outcome was evaluated by the treating neurosurgeon at 1- and 12-month follow-up visits, and after approximately 5 years, before the patient entered elementary school. In addition to that, the patients’ caregivers were asked to evaluate the aesthetic outcome of the surgical procedure after 12 months. These results were then compared to evaluate potential differences in the perception of the surgical outcome.

RESULTS

After 12 months, the majority of the included patients were evaluated as having a good aesthetic outcome by the treating neurosurgeon (97%) and by their caregivers (89%). These differences did not show statistical significance (p = 0.11). Similarly, no differences in the aesthetic outcome depending on the surgical procedure performed could be found (p = 0.55). At the last follow-up visit, before entering elementary school, all available patients had an excellent or good surgical outcome. Moreover, the majority of caregivers (73%) reported that their child had a normal head shape appearance after surgical correction.

CONCLUSIONS

The results of this study have suggested that surgical correction of sagittal suture synostosis by simple operative techniques leads to a good aesthetic outcome and a normal head shape appearance in the majority of patients. An analysis of the evaluation of the surgical outcome by either the treating neurosurgeon or the patient caregivers showed comparable results and, thus, early intervention with simple surgical techniques can be recommended.

ABBREVIATIONS

EMSC = extended midline strip craniectomy; ICP = intracranial pressure; MPP = modified pi procedure.

Illustration from Soleman et al. (pp 544–552). Copyright Lucille Solomon.

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