Although distraction osteogenesis (DO) requires a secondary procedure in the surgical correction of craniosynostosis, it is relatively simple, requires less transfusion, results in a shorter intensive care unit stay, and is quite safe. Because of these positive factors, various DO techniques have been developed. However, there is disagreement regarding the superiority of DO. The authors reported on a new DO technique, transsutural DO (TSDO), 6 years ago that was performed in 23 patients over a period of 6 months, and it continues to be used at the present time. In this paper the authors report the results of TSDO performed in 285 patients with craniosynostosis over a period of 6 years at a single institution.
TSDO consists of a simple suturectomy of the pathological suture followed by direct distraction of the suturectomy site only. Types of TSDO conducted included sagittal TSDO in 95 patients, bicoronal in 14, unilateral coronal in 57, lambdoid in 26, metopic in 13, multiple in 19, syndromic in 33, and secondary in 28. The mean age (± SD) of the patients was 19.4 ± 23.0 months, and mean follow-up was 39.5 ± 21.0 months.
The mean operating time was 115 ± 43 minutes, and mean anesthesia time was 218 ± 56 minutes. The mean transfusion volume of red blood cell components was 48 ± 58 ml, and mean transfusion volume of fresh-frozen plasma was 19 ± 35 ml. Total transfusion volume was significantly less in infants younger than 12 months of age and in children with lower lumbar puncture pressures (p < 0.05). Complications included 1 (0.4%) death from postoperative acute pneumonia after a distractor removal operation and 23 (8%) surgical morbidities comprising 10 revisions (3.5%) and 13 early removals of distracters (4.6%).
TSDO is a simple, effective, and safe method to use for treating all types of craniosynostosis. Some morbidity was experienced in this study, but it may be attributed to the learning curve of the technique.