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What are the different types of craniosynostosis?

There are numerous types of craniosynostosis. Different names are given to the various types, depending on which suture, or sutures, are involved, including the following:



Anterior plagiocephaly involves fusion of either the right or left side of the coronal suture that runs from ear to ear. This is called coronal synostosis and it causes the normal forehead and the brow to stop growing. Therefore, it produces a flattening of the forehead and the brow on the affected side, with the forehead tending to be excessively prominent on the opposite side. The eye on the affected side may also have a different shape. There may also be flattening of the back area (occipital). Unilateral lambdoidal suture synostosis causes posterior plagiocephaly.

A much more common cause of plagiocephaly is deformational (or positional) plagiocephaly refers to the the misshapen (asymmetrical) head from repeated pressure to the same area of the head. As opposed to the above examples, deformational plagiocephaly is not craniosynostosis and surgery is not required. It can result when the part of the skull (occipital bone) that is dependent (in one position) flattens out due to pressure, as when sleeping on that part of the skull.

The number of infants with deformational plagiocephaly has risen over the past several years. This increase may be the result of the "Back to Sleep" campaign promoted by the American Academy of Pediatrics to help prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), but other factors can cause this type of plagiocephaly. Specific treatment will be determined by your child's physician based on the severity.



Trigonocephaly is a fusion of the metopic (forehead) suture. This suture runs from the top of the head down the middle of the forehead, toward the nose.

Early closure of this suture may result in a prominent ridge running down the forehead. Sometimes, the forehead looks quite pointed, like a triangle, with closely placed eyes (hypotelorism).



Scaphocephaly is an early closure of fusion of the sagittal suture. This suture runs front to back, down the middle of the top of the head.

This fusion causes a long, narrow skull. The skull is long from front to back and narrow from ear to ear.


Craniosynostosis Resources:

Pediatric Neurosurgery | Craniosynostosis

Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon, Dr. Edward Ahn answers questions about what craniosynostosis is, how it is diagnosed and treated, what the prognosis is for children with the condition, and why you should consider Johns Hopkins for treatment.

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Craniosynostosis | Jack's Story

Born with pediatric craniosynostosis, Jack had minimally invasive surgery as an infant, performed by pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Edward Ahn.

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Listen to pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Edward Ahn talk about positional plagiocephaly and craniosynostosis in infants.

Watch the recording of Dr. Ahn’s online discussion about craniosynostosis.

Out-of-State and International Patients - Find Out More


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