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Aaron M. Yengo-Kahn, Oluwatoyin Akinnusotu, Alyssa L. Wiseman, Muhammad Owais Abdul Ghani, Chevis N. Shannon, Michael S. Golinko, and Christopher M. Bonfield

OBJECTIVE

Craniosynostosis (CS) affects about 1 in 2500 infants and is predominantly treated by surgical intervention in infancy. Later in childhood, many of these children wish to participate in sports. However, the safety of participation is largely anecdotal and based on surgeon experience. The objective of this survey study was to describe sport participation and sport-related head injury in CS patients.

METHODS

A 16-question survey related to child/parent demographics, CS surgery history, sport history, and sport-induced head injury history was made available to patients/parents in the United States through a series of synostosis organization listservs, as well as synostosis-focused Facebook groups, between October 2019 and June 2020. Sports were categorized based on the American Academy of Pediatrics groupings. Pearson’s chi-square test, Fisher’s exact test, and the independent-samples t-test were used in the analysis.

RESULTS

Overall, 187 CS patients were described as 63% male, 89% White, and 88% non-Hispanic, and 89% underwent surgery at 1 year or younger. The majority (74%) had participated in sports starting at an average age of 5 years (SD 2.2). Of those participating in sports, contact/collision sport participation was most common (77%), and 71% participated in multiple sports. Those that played sports were less frequently Hispanic (2.2% vs 22.9%, p < 0.001) and more frequently had undergone a second surgery (44% vs 25%, p = 0.021). Only 9 of 139 (6.5%) sport-participating CS patients suffered head injuries; 6 (67%) were concussions and the remaining 3 were nondescript but did not mention any surgical needs.

CONCLUSIONS

In this nationwide survey of postsurgical CS patients and parents, sport participation was exceedingly common, with contact sports being the most common sport category. Few head injuries (mostly concussions) were reported as related to sport participation. Although this is a selective sample of CS patients, the initial data suggest that sport participation, even in contact sports, and typically beginning a few years after CS correction, is safe and commonplace.

Free access

Ranbir Ahluwalia, Jarrett Foster, Madeleine M. Sherburn, Georgina E. Sellyn, Katherine A. Kelly, Muhammad Owais Abdul Ghani, Alyssa L. Wiseman, Chevis N. Shannon, and Christopher M. Bonfield

OBJECTIVE

The incidence of deformational brachycephaly has risen since the “Back to Sleep” movement in 1992 by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Brachycephaly prevalence and understanding the dynamic nature of the pediatric skull have not been explored in relation to the cranial index (CI). The objective of the study was to determine the prevalence of brachycephaly, via the CI, with respect to time.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of 1499 patients ≤ 19 years of age who presented for trauma evaluation with a negative CT scan for trauma (absence of bleed) in 2018. The CI was calculated using CT at the lateral-most point of the parietal bone (cephalic width), and the distance from the glabella to the opisthocranion (cephalic length). Brachycephaly was defined as a CI ≥ 90%.

RESULTS

The mean CI was 82.6, with an average patient age of 6.8 years. The prevalence of deformational brachycephaly steadily decreased from 27% to 4% from birth to > 2 years of life. The mean CI was statistically different between ages < 12 months, 12–24 months, and > 24 months (F[2,1496] = 124.058, p < 0.0005). A simple linear regression was calculated to predict the CI based on age; the CI was found to decrease by 0.038 each month. A significant regression equation was found (F[1,1497] = 296.846, p < 0.0005), with an R2 of 0.140.

CONCLUSIONS

The incidence of deformational brachycephaly is common in infants but decreases as the child progresses through early childhood. Clinicians can expect a significant decrease in mean CI at 12 and 24 months. Additionally, these regression models show that clinicians can expect continued improvement throughout childhood.

Free access

Jackson H. Allen, Aaron M. Yengo-Kahn, Kelly L. Vittetoe, Amber Greeno, Muhammad Owais Abdul Ghani, Purnima Unni, Harold N. Lovvorn III, and Christopher M. Bonfield

OBJECTIVE

All-terrain vehicle (ATV) and dirt bike crashes frequently result in traumatic brain injury. The authors performed a retrospective study to evaluate the role of helmets in the neurosurgical outcomes of pediatric patients involved in ATV and dirt bike crashes who were treated at their institution during the last decade.

METHODS

The authors analyzed data on all pediatric patients involved in ATV or dirt bike crashes who were evaluated at a single regional level I pediatric trauma center between 2010 and 2019. Patients were excluded if the crash occurred in a competition (n = 70) or if helmet status could not be determined (n = 18). Multivariable logistic regression was used to analyze the association of helmet status with the primary outcomes of 1) neurosurgical consultation, 2) intracranial injury (including skull fracture), and 3) moderate or severe traumatic brain injury (MSTBI) and to control for literature-based, potentially confounding variables.

RESULTS

In total, 680 patients were included (230 [34%] helmeted patients and 450 [66%] unhelmeted patients). Helmeted patients were more frequently male (81% vs 66%). Drivers were more frequently helmeted (44.3%) than passengers (10.5%, p < 0.001). Head imaging was performed to evaluate 70.9% of unhelmeted patients and 48.3% of helmeted patients (p < 0.001). MSTBI (8.0% vs 1.7%, p = 0.001) and neurosurgical consultation (26.2% vs 9.1%, p < 0.001) were more frequent among unhelmeted patients. Neurosurgical injuries, including intracranial hemorrhage (16% vs 4%, p < 0.001) and skull fracture (18% vs 4%, p < 0.001), were more common in unhelmeted patients. Neurosurgical procedures were required by 2.7% of unhelmeted patients. One helmeted patient (0.4%) required placement of an intracranial pressure monitor, and no other helmeted patients required neurosurgical procedures. After adjustment for age, sex, driver status, vehicle type, and injury mechanism, helmet use significantly reduced the odds of neurosurgical consultation (OR 0.250, 95% CI 0.140–0.447, p < 0.001), intracranial injury (OR 0.172, 95% CI 0.087–0.337, p < 0.001), and MSTBI (OR 0.244, 95% CI 0.079–0.758, p = 0.015). The unadjusted absolute risk reduction provided by helmet use equated to a number-needed-to-helmet of 6 riders to prevent 1 neurosurgical consultation, 4 riders to prevent 1 intracranial injury, and 16 riders to prevent 1 MSTBI.

CONCLUSIONS

Helmet use remains problematically low among young ATV and dirt bike riders, especially passengers. Expanding helmet use among these children could significantly reduce the rates of intracranial injury and MSTBI, as well as the subsequent need for neurosurgical procedures. Promoting helmet use among recreational ATV and dirt bike riders must remain a priority for neurosurgeons, public health officials, and injury prevention professionals.