St. Louis Children's Hospital Craniosynostosis Program

St. Louis Children's Hospital Craniosynostosis Program

Phone: 800-678-5437
Address: St. Louis Children's Hospital • One Children's Place • St. Louis, MO • 63110
Location: Missouri

Meet the team

  • Dr. Jennifer Strahle

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  • Dr. Sean McEvoy

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  • Kamlesh Patel

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  • Sybill D. Naidoo

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The team at St. Louis Children’s Hospital was one of the very first to offer minimally invasive surgery for craniosynostosis. Since that first endoscopic procedure was performed in 2006, doctors affiliated with St. Louis Children’s Hospital have successfully treated hundreds of children with this technique.

 

Experience and Expertise

  • High volume of surgeries. We perform more endoscopic craniosynostosis surgeries than any other facility in Missouri. 
  • Decades of experience. Our Cleft Palate and Craniofacial Institute was established in 1978. Parents and children from throughout the nation seek us out for our experience. 
  • Multidisciplinary follow-up care throughout childhood. Your child will be followed throughout childhood by all the experts the situation requires. This may include plastic surgeryneurosurgerydevelopmental psychology, speech and language, dentistry, orthodontics, ophthalmology, nursing, ear-nose-throat and genetics.
  • Expert surgeons. Our doctors train other surgeons on best practices for endoscopic craniosynostosis repair. We are viewed as the national leaders in this type of surgery due to our long, successful history of performing it with superb outcomes. 
  • Nationally recognized leaders. We created the protocol for post-surgical helmeting. The ‘St. Louis Protocol’ is named after us and is used by surgeons across the nation as a standard of care after endoscopic craniosynostosis repair surgery.
  • Endoscopic option for all types of craniosynostosis. Many surgeons will only perform endoscopic craniosynostosis surgery for a limited range of cases, such as single-suture repairs. Our experienced surgeons successfully treat all types of craniosynostosis, including multi-suture and syndromic cases, using the minimally invasive technique.

Outcomes

  • Perfect safety record. In the history of our endoscopic craniosynostosis surgery program, we have never had a patient experience a serious complication. 
  • Advanced pediatric pain management techniques. While minimally invasive surgery generally is less painful for children, we keep patients overnight to ensure their comfort and well-being. Reduced pain means less stress and improved ability to heal.
  • Low re-operation rate. Because of the depth of experience of our surgeons, our re-operation rate for endoscopic craniosynostosis surgery is very low. We rarely operate twice on the same child.

Why Should You Consider Endoscopic Surgery for Craniosynostosis?

There are tremendous benefits to endoscopic repair surgery. They include:

  • Less blood loss/low blood transfusion rate (5 percent)
  • Less pain/swelling
  • No drains after surgery 
  • Shorter operative time
  • Discharge home the day after surgery and typically no ICU stay
  • Smaller scars (one- to two-inch incisions)
  • Faster recovery times
  • Low complication rates

Endoscopic repair is considered both safe and effective. Numerous scientific papers have shown that it provides outcomes that are just as successful as traditional, open craniosynostosis procedures.

What to Expect With Endoscopic Craniosynostosis Surgery at St. Louis Children’s Hospital

From your first appointment to your last, we will treat you and your child with compassion. Here’s what to expect:

  1. Diagnosis: During your initial consultation, we will perform any necessary imaging studies, give you the results and have you sit down with a surgeon to discuss what needs to happen next. You probably will leave with a surgery date already scheduled.
  2. Preparing for post-surgical helmeting: Prior to your baby’s surgery date, you will meet with a certified orthotist to create a custom helmet for your child. The orthotist can explain the post-surgery helmeting protocol with you and answer any questions you have.
  3. Pre-surgical preparations: When you arrive for surgery, you will meet with an anesthesia provider and other team members who will explain exactly how they do things. Eventually, your child will go back into the operating suite with a nurse.
  4. Post-surgery: After surgery is finished, the surgeon will find you in the waiting room to tell you how it went. Your child will spend a little time waking up from anesthesia and then will be transferred to a room for an overnight stay. You will be able to spend plenty of time with your little one during this period. In fact, we welcome parents to stay overnight.
  5. Going home: When your child is discharged, you will go home with all the post-op instructions you need to keep your baby safe and comfortable. You will also be able to directly call an experienced craniofacial physician at any hour with questions or concerns.

At St. Louis Children's Hospital, we've been helping children who need craniosynostosis surgery for over 35 years, so we are prepared with answers to all of your questions. We have treated hundreds of children for all types of craniosynostosis. We can help your child, too.

Our center ranks among the most experienced in the nation at treating craniosynostosis. In fact, doctors from St. Louis Children's Hospital helped pioneer and refine minimally invasive endoscopic techniques for craniosynostosis repair. Some advantages of our Craniosynostosis Program are:

Our re-operation rate is very low. In the hands of our experienced surgeons, craniosynostosis surgery is not only is safe, but it's very successful.

We put patient safety first. None of our patients has experienced a major surgical complication, such as stroke or heart attack. Safety is our primary concern.

Our program is among the most experienced in the U.S. We have performed hundreds of craniosynostosis repair surgeries since 2003.

 We developed the standard protocol for post-surgery helmet use. The 'St. Louis protocol' for helmeting after craniosynostosis surgery is named for us because we developed it. This protocol is used by doctors and cranial orthotists throughout the country.

We offer endoscopic repair for all types of craniosynostosis. Some surgeons only offer minimally invasive repair surgery to children with scaphocephaly (sagittal synostosis). Our experienced surgeons perform endoscopic repairs on all types of craniosynostosis, including multi-suture and syndromic cases.

We believe in a multidisciplinary approach to craniosynostosis. Babies whose skull bones fuse too early may have other issues, too. When you choose St. Louis Children's Hospital, you will see professionals from all the appropriate subspecialties, including plastic surgery, neurosurgery, psychology, speech and language, dentistry, orthodontics, ophthalmology, nursing, ear-nose-throat and genetics.

Streamlined appointments. On your first visit, you will get any necessary imaging done, receive the results and talk to the surgeons. We understand you don't want to take your baby from one clinic to another. We offer you everything you need in one place.

Our experienced surgeons treat all types of craniosynostosis including:

Scaphocephaly (also called sagittal synostosis)

Coronal synostosis

Metopic synostosis

Lambdoid craniosynostosis

Minor suture synostosis

Syndromic craniosynostosis that occurs due to another health condition, such as Crouzon syndrome and Apert syndrome

Multi-suture craniosynostosis in which more than two bones of the skull fuse together prematurely

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