Apert Sydrome: Physical Traits

The Skull:
The skull is made up of different bones, and the junctions where these bones meet are called sutures (go to Craniosynostoses to see a picture of these sutures). In Apert syndrome, at least two of these sutures are fused shut. These sutures are called the coronal sutures and they run from ear to ear across the top of the head. There is a right and left suture, with the soft spot, or fontanel, in between. With these sutures fused shut, as the brain grows, it cannot "push" the forehead forward, or the back of the head backwards. Instead, the brain grows upward, making the head taller. Frequently, the soft spot will split open, like a seam in a pair of pants that are too tight, and there will be a large open area of the skull that feels soft. Sometimes this split runs forwards, almost down to the nose. Eventually, this open area closes up with bone. As the baby grows, the forehead slowly gets taller (and wider, as well). In some children with Apert syndrome, this split does not occur, and the parents will notice a ridge running vertically down the center of the forehead.