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Nathan K. Leclair, William A. Lambert, Joshua Knopf, Petronella Stoltz, David S. Hersh, Jonathan E. Martin, and Markus J. Bookland

OBJECTIVE

Craniosynostosis is a congenital disorder resulting from the premature fusion of cranial sutures in the infant skull. This condition results in significant cosmetic deformity and can impede neurodevelopment, if left untreated. Currently, rates of craniometric change following minimally invasive surgery have only been examined for sagittal craniosynostosis. A better understanding of postoperative skull adaptations in other craniosynostosis subtypes is needed to objectively categorize surgical outcomes and guide length of cranial orthosis therapy.

METHODS

Eleven patients with sagittal and 8 with metopic craniosynostosis treated using endoscopic strip craniectomy and postoperative helmet orthoses were retrospectively reviewed. Using semiautomated image analysis of top-down orthogonal 2D photographs, the following craniometrics were recorded before surgery and at postoperative visits: cephalic index (CI), cranial vault asymmetry index (CVAI), anterior arc angle (AAA), posterior arc angle (PAA), anterior-middle width ratio (AMWR), anterior-posterior width ratio (APWR), left-right height ratio (LRHR), sagittal Hu moment (Sag-Hu), and brachycephaly Hu moment (Brachy-Hu). These craniometrics were then normalized to photograph-based measurements of normocephalic patients and the rates of change between metopic and sagittal craniosynostoses were compared.

RESULTS

Patients with sagittal craniosynostosis exhibited significantly lower CI, lower PAA, higher AMWR, higher APWR, lower Sag-Hu, and higher Brachy-Hu preoperatively compared to patients with normocephalic craniosynostosis. Patients with metopic craniosynostosis exhibited lower AAA and AMWR preoperatively compared to normocephalic subjects. Sagittal and metopic patients had a rapid initial change in normalized CI or AAA, respectively. Craniometric rates of change that significantly differed between metopic and sagittal patients were found in AAA (p < 0.001), AMWR (p < 0.001), and APWR (p < 0.0001). Metopic patients had a prolonged AAA change with a significantly different rate of change up to 6 months postoperatively (median at 3 months = 0.027 normalized units/day, median at 6 months = 0.017 normalized units/day, and median at > 6 months = 0.007 normalized units/day), while sagittal CI rate of change at these time points was not significantly different.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with metopic craniosynostosis have a prolonged rate of change compared to patients with sagittal craniosynostosis and may benefit from longer helmet use and extended postoperative follow-up. Categorizing craniometric changes for other craniosynostosis subtypes will be important for evaluating current treatment guidelines.

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Mitch R. Paro, William A. Lambert, Nathan K. Leclair, Arijit R. Chakraborty, Sophia Angelo, Benjamin Pesante, Petronella Stoltz, Jonathan E. Martin, Markus J. Bookland, and David S. Hersh

OBJECTIVE

Telemedicine can be an effective tool for the evaluation of the pediatric patient with a cranial deformity, but it increases the reliance of neurosurgical providers on data provided by patients and families. Family-acquired photographs, in particular, can be used to augment the evaluation of pediatric head shape abnormalities via telemedicine, but photographs of sufficient quality are necessary. Here, the authors systematically reviewed the quality and utility of family-acquired photographs for patients referred to their pediatric neurosurgery clinic for telemedicine-based head shape evaluations.

METHODS

All telemedicine encounters that were completed for head shape abnormalities at the authors’ institution between May 2020 and December 2021 were retrospectively reviewed. Instructions were sent to families prior to each visit with examples of ideal photographs. Three orthogonal views of the patient’s head—frontal, lateral, and vertex—were requested. Data were collected regarding demographics, diagnosis, follow-up, and photograph quality. Quality variables included orthogonality of each requested view, appropriate distance, appropriate lighting, presence of distracting elements, and whether hair obscured the head shape.

RESULTS

Overall, 565 patients had 892 visits during the study period. A total of 1846 photograph requests were made, and 3335 photographs were received for 829 visits. Of 2676 requested orthogonal views, 1875 (70%) were received. Of these, 1826 (97%) had adequate lighting, 1801 (96%) had appropriate distance, and 1826 (97%) had no distracting features. Hair did not obscure the head shape on the vertex view in 557 visits with orthogonal vertex views (82%). In-person follow-up was requested for further medical evaluation in 40 visits (5%).

CONCLUSIONS

The family-acquired photographs in this series demonstrated high rates of adequate lighting and distance, without distracting features. Lack of orthogonality and obscuration of the head shape by hair, however, were more common issues. Family education prior to the visit may improve the quality of family-acquired photographs but requires an investment of time by medical staff. Efforts to further improve photographic quality will facilitate efforts to perform craniometric evaluations through telemedicine visits.