Craniosynostosis is the premature closure of the spaces between
the bones that make up the skull.
What is going on in the body?
In the growing child, the skull is made up of a number of bony plates.
The bony plates are separated by sutures. As a baby reaches his or her first
year of life, the bony plates of the skull become closer and eventually fuse
together. The size and shape of the skull more or less reflect the size and
shape of the brain.
In a baby with craniosynostosis, one or more of the skull sutures stop growing
before brain growth is complete. It can lead to constriction of the brain and
deformity of the skull and facial structures.
What are the causes and risks of the disease?
Craniosynostosis occurs in about 1 in 2000 live births. It occurs more often
with a twin pregnancy or if the shape of the uterus is abnormal and constrains
the growth of the baby's head. Craniosynostosis is also seen more often:
if the mother smokes
if the fetus is exposed to high altitude while in the womb
if the baby has Apert syndrome, a congenital condition that causes
if the baby has Crouzon's disease, a congenital disease that causes
abnormalities of the face, as well as other disorders