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Elin Tønne, Bernt J. Due-Tønnessen, Ulrikke Wiig, Barbro F. Stadheim, Torstein R. Meling, Eirik Helseth and Ketil R. Heimdal


The authors present population-based epidemiological data for craniosynostosis regarding incidence, age at diagnosis, sex differences, and frequency of syndromic and familial cases.


The prospective registry of the Norwegian National Unit for Craniofacial Surgery was used to retrieve data on all individuals with craniosynostosis treated between 2003 and 2017. The cohort was divided into three 5-year groups based on year of birth: 2003–2007, 2008–2012, and 2013–2017.


The authors identified 386 individuals with craniosynostosis. Of these, 328 (85%) consented to be registered with further information. The incidence increased significantly during the study period and was 5.5 per 10,000 live births (1/1800) in the last 5-year period. The increase was seen almost exclusively in the nonsyndromic group. Syndromic craniosynostosis accounted for 27% of the cases, and the incidence remained stable throughout the three 5-year periods. Both syndromic and nonsyndromic craniosynostosis were highly suture specific. There was a male preponderance (male/female ratio 2:1), and males accounted for 75% of the individuals with midline synostosis. Overall, 9.5% were index individuals in families with more than one affected member; of these, 73% were nonsyndromic cases.


The incidence of craniosynostosis increased during the study period, and the observed incidence is among the highest reported. The authors attribute this to increasing awareness among healthcare professionals. The number of syndromic cases was high, likely due to a broader definition compared to the majority of earlier reports. The study revealed a high number of familial cases in both syndromic and nonsyndromic craniosynostosis, thus highlighting the importance of genetics as an underlying cause of craniosynostosis.