What are the typical symptoms?
Typical symptoms of craniosynostosis include an abnormally shaped head, an asymmetrical face, and an unusual or absent soft spot on the top of the head. Some babies may experience increased pressure on the brain, which can cause headaches, vomiting, and irritability.
The bones in the skull are connected by six flexible sutures which allow the head to compress during birth. If one of these sutures is synostosed birth could be difficult. As the baby's brain grows, it can become apparent that the head isn't growing as it should.
Depending on the affected suture, the head shape might have a pointed brow, a narrow shape with a prominent brow, facial asymmetry with one eye much more open than the other, a tall head or ear heights which are significantly different.
The involved suture(s) can usually be diagnosed without x-ray and if there is any concern, a referral to a craniofacial unit should be offered.
Why does it happen to babies?
The exact cause of craniosynostosis is not fully understood, but it is thought to be related to a combination of genetic and environmental factors.