October 2016 – Craniosynostosis
Craniosynostosis is a birth defect affecting one or more of the joints or sutures of a baby’s skull, causing them to close prematurely. When this happens, the baby’s brain is not able to grow in its natural shape and the head is malformed. Craniosynostosis can affect multiple sutures in the baby’s skull and in some cases is associated with a brain abnormality that can prevent the brain from growing normally. Figures 1a and 1b represent normal sutures or joints in a 5 day old baby. Figure 2a shows premature closure of the Metopic Suture in a 5 week old baby and Figure 2b shows abnormal Coronal Suture closure in a 7 month old. Surgeons use the 3D Volume Rendered Images created in the Stanford 3DQ Lab for surgical planning in theses cases. Visualization of the sutures allows surgeons to separate the fused bones, which gives the baby’s brain adequate space to grow and develop if there is not an underlying brain abnormality.