Craniosynostosis is a medical condition in which some or all of the sutures in the skull of an infant or child close too early, causing problems with normal brain and skull growth. It can result in craniostenosis: the skull deformity caused by the premature closure of the cranial sutures.
At birth, the human skull is made up of 45 separate bony elements. As growth occurs, many of these bony elements gradually fuse together into solid bone. The skull of a newborn is initially made up of connective tissue (fontanelles) that is moveable, which is necessary for birth and for later growth. As a child grows, ossification occurs and the fontanelles eventually form bone. The fontanelles can remain open for up to eighteen months of age.
When one or more sutures fuse prematurely, (plagiocephaly – abnormal /asymmetrical distortion of the skull) skull growth can be restricted perpendicular to the suture. If multiple sutures fuse while the brain is still increasing in size, intracranial pressure can increase. This is usually diagnosed through physical examination, x-rays and CT scans.