Single Suture Craniosynostoses

Plagiocephaly (Coronal synostosis):

“Plagiocephaly” is the term used to describe the shape that results from craniosynostosis of either the right, or left, sides of the coronal suture. The coronal suture runs across the top of the skull, extending almost from ear to ear. The soft spot, or fontanel, is located midway between the right and left coronal sutures at the top of the skull and is usually closed in children with plagiocephaly. On the side of the skull, where the suture has closed, one can often feel a raised ridge of bone. When viewed from above, the forehead on the fused side is further back than the other side (which typically has slightly overgrown further forward in order to compensate for the brain’s inability to grow on the side that has fused). In looking straight on at the child, the eyebrow on the fused side is usually higher. This makes the eye on the affected side seem more open. Often, parents’ first impressions are that it is the eye on the unaffected side that seems abnormally closed, when actually the other eye is abnormally more open-appearing. Some may notice that their child’s nose is slightly off-center, angled toward the side of the fused suture. Most parents report that their child looks worse when they see their child in a mirror, which may be related to the fact that a mirror flips the image around so the right side becomes the left, etc. Instead of seeing your child as you are used to seeing him, or her, every single day with the flatness on one side, you now see a different child with flatness on the opposite side.

The incidence of plagiocephaly is estimated to be about one in 3500 births. Almost all children affected with plagiocephaly require surgical treatment. Rarely, children with one coronal suture fused shut can have a gene mutation (up to 20%), or a condition called Muenke syndrome. The treatment for this condition is discussed in the Treatment section.


Other types of single sutural synostosis:
Scaphocephaly | Trigonocephaly | Posterior Plagiocephaly
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