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Surgery on the skull to correct sagittal craniosynostosis.

Craniosynostosis is a congenital (present at birth) defect that causes one or more sutures on a baby's head to close earlier than normal. Sutures are connections that separate individual skull bones. The early closing of a suture leads to an abnormally shaped head.

The main treatment for craniosynostosis is surgery which is done while the baby is still an infant.

There are different types of craniosynostosis; for example, sagittal synostosis (scaphocephaly) is the most common type. It affects the main (sagittal) suture on the very top of the head.

The early closing forces the head to grow long and narrow, instead of wide. Babies with this type of craniosynostosis tend to have a broad forehead. It is more common in boys than with girls.

The goals of surgery are: (1) Relieve any pressure on the brain. (2) Make sure there is enough room in the skull to allow the brain to grow properly. (3) Improve the appearance of the child's head.

The operation may be either an extended strip craniectomy or a subtotal calvarectomy.

This entry is located in the following unit: -ectomy, -ectome, -ectomize (page 4)