You wait weeks, sometimes months to have a consultation. Your child is diagnosed with Craniosynostosis and now you start to ask yourself….does my baby really NEED this surgery?
There is a long and short answer for this and it is as follows:
The short answer is – YES. If your child has been diagnosed with a fused suture, you should strongly consider surgery as the option for your child. Craniosynostosis is a progressive deformity. This means as your child’s brain grows, the skull will need to expand. When there is a synostosis the skull is unable to expand in the way that it is supposed to. This “can” lead to a variety of future concerns for your child if left untreated.
Sometimes you will hear the words “cosmetic” and/or “elective” – words like these can cut you like a knife and just about push you to your breaking point.
The term cosmetic will typically come from the mouth of the neurosurgeon. While this term is hard for a family to digest, one must take into consideration what this means. This means that at this time, from what the surgeon can tell, the baby has a deformity. The skull shape is compromised but there is nothing going on inside of the brain. This is GOOD NEWS!
But, this should not have you assume that this now means that you should not consider surgery. While the majority of Craniosynostosis cases are just that, “cosmetic in nature”(we use this term loosely) – no one can guarantee that it will end there without giving the sensitive, developing brain room to grow.
Craniosynostosis repair is a reconstructive procedure in that it repairs and restores the skull to it’s intended shape and allows for future growth and development of the brain.
On occasion there will be a case of a partially fused suture (mild case) or a Metopic ridge and there are varying opinions on whether the risk of surgery will outweigh the benefit. Read more on this topic here.