The authors evaluated the results of complete cognitive function examinations in a series of 65 adolescents who had undergone surgery for sagittal or unicoronal craniosynostosis when they were younger than 1 year old.
Each of the 65 study participants was evaluated individually. The neuropsychological assessment, consisting of a battery of tests tailored to the patient's age, cognitive level, and level of cooperation, was conducted in 2 separate sessions on the same day. The main outcome measures included fine motor skills, language, visual motor spatial and visual perceptual skills, working and visual memory, attention, executive function, and verbal fluency.
Thirty-five children (mean age 13.4 years) were affected by sagittal synostosis and 30 (mean age 14.9 years) by unicoronal synostosis (16 right-sided, 14 left-sided). The mean age at surgery was 7.2 months. All of the children had begun school at a normal age and attended regular classes. Seven percent of those with sagittal craniosynostosis demonstrated visuospatial and constructional ability defects with associated visual memory recall deficits; 17% also exhibited selective and sustained attention deficits. Approximately one-third (30%) of the children with anterior plagiocephaly had processing and planning speech deficits.
Data in this study support the hypothesis that children with sagittal or unicoronal craniosynostosis, although they undergo early surgical treatment, may still manifest lower than average results at long-term selective neuropsychological evaluations.
Abbreviations used in this paper: ISS = isolated sagittal synostosis; MDI = Mental Development Index; PIQ = Performance IQ; SSC = single-suture craniosynostosis; TIQ = Total IQ; VIQ = Verbal IQ; WISC-R = Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children–Revised.
Address correspondence to: Daniela Chieffo, Ph.D., Department of Pediatric Neurosurgery, Institute of Neurosurgery, Catholic University Medical School, Largo “A. Gemelli,” 8, Rome 00168, Italy. email:
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