Craniofacial reconstruction for craniosynostosis
The skilled team of pediatric neurosurgeons and pediatric craniofacial surgeons at Cohen Children’s provides the highest quality care in craniofacial abnormalities and handles the largest volume on Long Island. The craniofacial plastic surgeons often involved in these cases are also dedicated to the treatment of children.
We also have the capability to do three-dimensional modeling before treatment, allowing us to plan a reconstruction for some cases.
Endoscopic, minimally invasive techniques are utilized quite early and have a high success rate of avoiding larger craniofacial reconstructions.
What is craniosynostosis?
Craniosynostosis is a common type of craniofacial abnormality. This is when children are born with premature fusion of one or more of the growth plates (or sutures) of the skull. Their brains grow but their skulls cannot, resulting in abnormal head shapes.
Craniosynostosis repair is often done at a very young age, sometimes less than 3-4 months old, while other times closer to a year of age. Cohen’s has one of the busiest programs for craniosynostosis repair in the region. We use two main techniques; one is the open reconstruction of the skull, and the other is a minimally invasive endoscopic approach which may be followed by helmet therapy.
Other techniques include distraction osteogenesis. In these cases, we make cuts in the skull and attach a device that gradually expands the skull to make more room over many weeks.
Fixation of cranial plates are generally accomplished using absorbable material which disappears within two years.
Reasons for treatment
Marked by abnormal head shape and/or size, craniofacial abnormalities are usually recognized by a pediatrician after birth. A head shape abnormality can sometimes be detected in a late-term ultrasound, but this is less common.
Preparing for treatment
The prep will differ for each treatment technique, and it’s usually minimal. Your doctor will discuss the specifics with you.
What to expect after treatment
If your child has surgery, some swelling is expected. Our staff will get them out of bed and moving around on the same day, which leads to a faster recovery.
In general, patients are expected to be back to full function pretty quickly. We release them from the hospital in one to three days, after the swelling goes down.