Craniosynostosis and the Craniofacial Team Center
The Craniofacial team center was created to bring together the best practitioners to provide comprehensive evaluation and treatment of those patients who have malformations of the skull or the skull base. Using a truly multidisciplinary approach, the team of fellowship-trained pediatric subspecialists at the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children strives to optimize the cosmetic and functional outcomes of each child. We are associated with the Rose cleft lip/palate center and are the only Craniofacial Team Center certified by the American Cleft Palate – Craniofacial Association in Colorado and the region.
What is Craniosynostosis?
The skull is formed by multiple bone plates which are separated by gaps called “sutures”. These sutures allow for the symmetric growth of the skull as a babies’ brain develops. Each suture line allows growth in a different direction. This growth is very rapid during the first few years of life. Eventually the sutures will come together to form a solid skull. Craniosynostosis is where one or more of these “sutures” is absent or prematurely closed. As a result of this closure the skull is not allowed to expand in the way that it is supposed to creating an abnormal head shape. Often the abnormal shape is noticed at birth or within the first few months of life. Typically the brain is normal and children develop without problems but sometimes the closure of the sutures can cause an increase in the pressure in the head and symptoms. Craniosynostosis can also be associated with other syndromes and genetic problems.
Some of the common causes of craniofacial disorders are:
- Congenital disorders like Apert’s or Crouzon’s syndrome
- Fibrous dysplasia
- Tumors or growths of the skull or skull base
- Infant positioning
- Other skull abnormalities
How can Craniofacial Disorders or Craniosynostosis affect a child or patient:
In some patients the growth of the skull is limited by the abnormality. This can lead to pressure on the brain or specific symptoms. Developmental delays or irritability can be seen in young infants. Symptoms often depend on the location and the severity of the problem. Most often the only symptom is the abnormal shape or appearance of the head or face. Some types of craniosynostosis can cause significant problems with the face or the eyes. Sometimes the problem can be so severe that it affects a child’s vision.
The Craniofacial Team Center at the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children includes pediatric trained subspecialists from:
• Pediatric Neurosurgery
• Pediatric ENT/Craniofacial Surgery
• Pediatric Plastic Surgery
• Physical Therapy/ Occupational Therapy
Each child will be seen by the team to determine what exactly the problem is and what additional information is needed to determine the diagnosis. Our goal is to understand where the deformity is arising from and how best to treat the problem to restore more normal growth to the skull. We also work closely with the Rose Medical Center Cleft Palate and Craniofacial Team for those children who need additional support from Pediatric Dentists, Nutrition, Opthalmology, and other pediatric subspecialists.
The treatment of spasticity typically involves multiple options and is largely guided by the functional goals of the patient and the family. Treatment options include:
• Physical or Occupational Therapy
Once a plan of treatment has been established we will provide you and your primary care physician with a summary and assist with scheduling of any imaging or treatments that are recommended.
If you are from outside our geographic area and feel that your child may benefit from a team approach to management, we would welcome you to send the most recent notes from your physicians and any imaging that has been performed. We would be happy to review the information and determine whether we can help with your child’s treatment.
To schedule an appointment with the Craniosynostosis/ Craniofacial Center at the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children please call Kristie at (303) 832-2449.
The Center is located at the Professional Plaza West at Presbyterian/St. Lukes Medical Center, 1601 E. 19th Ave, Suite 4600, Denver, CO 80218.