Craniosynostosis Care at Mayo Clinic

Craniosynostosis – Mayo Clinic

My name is Edward Ahn. I'm a pediatric neurosurgeon and I'll be working on the treatment, the surgical treatment of all neurological disorders of children here at Mayo Clinic.

Craniosynostosis is, as we mentioned, the early fusion of the bony plates on the skull, and it results in really abnormal shaped heads. And this can often be picked up soon after birth. And it's something that requires surgical treatment. And the standard treatment has been an open calvarial vault remodeling, which is still performed and is still something that I do personally. And however, the concerns about that intervention are that it's very invasive for the babies. And because it's so invasive, involves a long operation, blood loss and long hospital stay, we usually wait until the infants are older, typically above six months of age.

There is another form of treatment that we offer and that is an endoscopic approach and that is a minimally invasive operation. But the key to that operation is that it's detected early and the procedure is done early. And with this type of intervention, the results can be good if not better than the traditional procedure. However, the benefits are that it's done through a very small incision and the operation is a lot shorter. The babies do not need to stay in the hospital very long, just usually one night. But the key is again, an early diagnosis. So we really encourage those who are on the frontlines of families and the pediatricians, the family doctors to refer the babies early if there's a suspicion for something like this.

Your Mayo Clinic care team

At Mayo Clinic Children's Center in Minnesota, experts in the Cleft and Craniofacial Clinic include specialists in neurosurgery, plastic and reconstructive surgery, genetic and hereditary conditions (clinical genomics), medical social services, and pediatric rehabilitation. The types of experts involved depend on your child's needs. Children who need to be in the hospital are cared for at Mayo Eugenio Litta Children's Hospital.

Extensive experience

Each year, doctors at Mayo Clinic Children's Center diagnose and treat more than 430 children who have craniosynostosis or other craniofacial disorders. Specialists treat all types of craniosynostosis, ranging from severe syndromes to single fusions, including sagittal, coronal and metopic synostosis.

Advanced diagnosis and treatment

Mayo Clinic Children's Center offers virtual surgical planning for treatment of craniosynostosis. Based on that virtual surgical plan, Mayo Clinic surgeons can customize the procedure for craniosynostosis to the individual patient with a high degree of detail.

Mayo Clinic surgeons also:

  • Modified traditional endoscopic procedures, treating sagittal craniosynostosis with one surgical incision instead of the traditional two incisions
  • Examined the ideal length of time for a helmet to be worn after having surgery in order to maximize the benefit while avoiding excess use
  • Are exploring new endoscopic techniques that may be used alone without the need for postoperative helmeting

Expertise and rankings

Mayo Clinic is ranked as one of the best neurology and neurosurgery hospitals in the nation, with an outstanding plastic surgery center that offers a craniofacial clinic. Mayo Clinic's highly skilled pediatric specialists, including pediatric neurosurgeons and plastic surgeons, have unparalleled expertise and experience with all types of craniosynostosis.

Locations, travel and lodging

Mayo Clinic has major campuses in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona; Jacksonville, Florida; and Rochester, Minnesota. The Mayo Clinic Health System has dozens of locations in several states.

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Costs and insurance

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Sept. 15, 2022