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Pediatric Neurosurgery

Craniosynostosis Treatments

The University Health Center for Endoscopic and Open Craniosynostosis Surgery is nationally known for innovative pediatric craniosynostosis treatments. Feel confident our surgeons can provide the most sophisticated surgical procedures for single- and multiple-suture craniosynostosis and associated syndromes.

Early Diagnosis & Treatment

Your child’s craniosynostosis condition is unique. The type of surgery needed depends on the suture (joint in the skull) involved and your infant’s age. 

When your baby gets an early diagnosis of craniosynostosis, you’ll have more treatment options that are less invasive. That means you can delay or even avoid traditional open surgery. 

Patient Specific Surgical Planning 

We will use advanced 3D image scanning of your baby’s head to confirm the diagnosis and plan for surgery. We use these detailed images in our surgical planning process. This allows us to create a computer-simulated, customized surgical procedure for your child’s craniosynostosis. VSP can help ensure a shorter surgery and recovery time.

Some patients require treatment for craniosynostosis in combination with other medical conditions. This video features a young girl we treated with Apert syndrome, a genetic disorder characterized by skeletal abnormalities in addition to a number of other symptoms and features.

 

Craniosynostosis Surgeries

Treatment for craniosynostosis usually involves minimally invasive or open surgery to:

  • Correct craniosynostosis
  • Relieve pressure on the brain
  • Allow the brain and skull to grow properly

Count on our skilled surgical team to keep your infant or child comfortable and safe before, during and after surgery.

Traditional Open Surgery

Your surgeon may recommend open surgery depending on your child’s condition and age.

Cranial Vault Reconstruction

Your surgeon will remove and precisely reshape fused skull bones in one surgery to allow your child’s brain to grow and develop a more natural skull shape.

No helmet therapy is needed afterward. Your baby will recover in the hospital for three to five days.

Fronto Orbital Advancement

This surgery removes skull bone and orbital bone to create room inside the skull for brain growth. It also reshapes the bones above the eyes and behind the forehead.

Your infant will recover in the hospital for four to five days.

Minimally Invasive Craniosynostosis Procedures

  • Strip Craniectomy: Removes a piece of the skull bone with the fused suture but does not change the skull shape.
  • Cranial Distraction: Expands part of the back of the skull and puts in a medical device to allow the skull to increase in size. Also called posterior vault distraction.
  • Cranial Vault Reconstruction: Removes pieces of the skull near fused sutures, then reshapes and expands skull bones.
  • Craniosynostosis Repair: Removes the prematurely closed suture.

Cranial Remolding Helmet after Surgery

What to Expect

After less-invasive surgery, a custom-made helmet will help reshape your baby’s head. The cranial remolding program at University Children’s Health, in partnership with UT Health San Antonio, is nationally known for successfully treating craniosynostosis after surgery and plagiocephaly.

At your child’s first appointment after surgery, we will fit your infant with a STARband cranial remolding orthotic helmet. This treatment is also called cranial orthosis. The cushioned, easy-to-put-on helmet will:

  • Guide and promote growth to specific areas of the skull by applying gentle pressure
  • Prevent further head flattening when your infant's head is tilted or resting on a flat surface
  • Stop growth in prominent areas

Therapy Duration & Maintenance

Craniosynostosis helmet therapy can last up to one year. Your baby’s treatment time will depend on their age and the severity of the condition. 

Rely on our team to carefully monitor your child’s treatment and document changes in the head shape. There will be helmet fit adjustments during therapy to allow the brain and head to grow.

The custom cranial helmet is a Class II device regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which requires stringent quality, safety and labeling information. These highly specialized cranial helmets require clinical expertise to achieve your baby's best and safest outcomes.

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