Objective. Surgery for craniosynostosis has evolved rapidly over the past two decades, with increased emphasis on early, extensive operations. Older published series may not accurately reflect more recent experience. Our study was designed to analyze outcome in a large series of consecutive patients treated recently at a single center.

Methods. We reviewed 250 consecutive patients who underwent surgical treatment of craniosynostosis between January 1, 1987 and December 31, 1992. They were divided into nine groups by suture involvement: sagittal, unilateral coronal, bilateral coronal, unilateral lambdoid, bilateral lambdoid, metopic, multiple suture, the Klee-blattschädel deformity (cloverleaf skull), and acquired craniosynostosis. Outcome was analyzed in terms of residual deformities and irregularities, complications, mortality, as well as the need for additional surgery.

Results. There were 157 males (62.8%) and 93 females (37.2%), with most of the male preponderance accounted for by the large sagittal synostosis group, which consisted of 82 males and 25 females. Median age at first operation was 147 days. A named syndrome was present in 23 patients (9.2%) and was more common than expected with bilateral and unilateral coronal synostosis, the Kleeblattschädel deformity, and multiple suture synostosis. There were two deaths (0.8%), both with Klee-blattschädel patients, and 17 other complications (6.8%). Morbidity and mortality were significantly associated with secondary vs primary operations and syndromic vs nonsyndromic patients. Outcome analysis revealed the best surgical results with metopic synostosis and significantly less good results with the Kleeblattschädel deformity, multiple suture synostosis, and bilateral coronal synostosis.

Conclusions. Using modern surgical techniques, craniosynostosis can be corrected with good outcomes and relatively low morbidity and mortality, particularly for otherwise healthy, nonsyndromic infants.

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