Craniosynostosis is a birth defect in which the fontanel closes prematurely. As a result, the baby's head develops abnormally and causes the shape of the baby's head to appear imperfect.
At first, the skull bone is not a single whole bone that stands alone, but a combination of several bones connected by the crown. The crown will remain open until the baby is 2 years old so that the baby's brain can develop. After that, the crown will close and form a solid skull bone.
In babies with craniosynostosis, the fontanel closes more quickly before the baby's brain is fully formed. This condition makes the brain push the skull bone so that the shape of the baby's head becomes disproportionate.
If left untreated, craniosynostosis can cause permanent changes in the shape of the head and face. The pressure inside the head cavity can increase and lead to serious conditions, such as blindness and death.
Causes and Risk Factors for Craniosynostosis
It is not known what causes craniosynostosis, but the condition is thought to be related to genetic and environmental factors. Craniosynostosis is also thought to be triggered by conditions that can affect a child's skull development, such as Apert syndrome, Pfeiffer syndrome , and Crouzon syndrome.
The risk of a baby suffering from craniosynostosis will be higher in women who have thyroid disease or are undergoing treatment for thyroid disease during pregnancy. The same risk can also be experienced by women who use fertility drugs , such as clomifen , before becoming pregnant.
Symptoms of Craniosynostosis
Signs of craniosynostosis are usually visible when the baby is born, and become more obvious after a few months. These signs include:
- The fontanel or the soft spot on the baby's head is not felt
- The forehead looks like a triangle, with a wide back of the head
- The shape of the forehead that is partly flat and partly prominent
- The position of one ear is higher than the other ear
- The shape of the baby's head is smaller than the baby his age
- Abnormal head shape , for example elongated and flat, or looks flat on one side
When to see a doctor
Follow the recommended immunization schedule . The pediatrician will monitor the child's growth and development during immunization, including the growth of his head. If you suspect that there is an oddity in the development or shape of a child's head, don't delay getting it checked by a doctor immediately.
Please note, the abnormal shape of a baby's head does not always indicate craniosynostosis. This condition can occur due to babies sleeping too often on one side of the body without changing positions. Therefore, a doctor's examination is needed to be sure.
Diagnosis of C raniosynostosis
To confirm craniosynostosis, the doctor will perform the following tests:
- Examination of the baby's head by examining the fontanel and abnormalities in the head
- Scanning with a CT scan to see the skull bones in more detail
- Genetic tests to determine the type of genetic disorder suspected to be the cause
Treatment of Craniosynostosis
Craniosynostosis with mild or moderate severity does not require special treatment. Doctors simply advise patients to use a special helmet to improve the shape of the skull and help brain development.
While in most cases of serious craniosynostosis, treatment must be carried out by surgery.
Surgery for craniosynostosis depends on the severity of the craniosynostosis and whether there is an underlying genetic disorder. The goal is to reduce and prevent pressure from building up on the brain, create space in the skull for the brain to expand, and improve the shape of the skull.
There are two types of surgery that can be done to treat craniosynostosis, namely:
Endoscopic surgery This surgery
is performed on infants under 6 months of age. This procedure requires only 1 day of hospitalization and does not require a blood transfusion. After this procedure, therapy with a special helmet can be done to improve the shape of the skull.
This procedure is performed on infants aged over 6 months. Open surgery requires 3-4 days of hospitalization and blood transfusions.
Complications of C raniosynostosis
Mild craniosynostosis that is left untreated can cause permanent changes in the shape of the head and face. As a result, people with craniosynostosis feel embarrassed to mingle with society.
Patients with severe craniosynostosis are at risk for increased intracranial pressure (pressure in the cavity of the head). If left untreated, increased intracranial pressure can lead to the following serious conditions:
- Developmental disorders
- Eye movement disorders
- Cognitive impairment (learning and thinking)
Craniosynostosis is difficult to prevent, because this condition is a congenital disorder due to genetic factors. However, routine pregnancy checks can be done to detect the early onset of this condition in the fetus.
Then, babies born with craniosynostosis need regular check-ups with the doctor to monitor brain development and function. It aims to treat as early as possible if the baby is suspected of having a brain development disorder.