Sagittal synostosis: I. Preoperative morphology of the skull

J. Guimaraes-Ferreira, F. Gewalli, L. David, Tron Andre Darvann, N.V. Hermann, S. Kreiborg, H. Friede, C.G.K. Lauritzen

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    The aim of this study was to characterise the preoperative morphology of the skull in sagittal synostosis in an objective and quantified way. The shapes of the skulls of 105 patients with isolated premature synostosis of the sagittal suture ( SS group) were studied and compared with those of a control group of 72 children with unilateral incomplete cleft lip (UICL). A standardised radiocephalometric technique was used to obtain the images. A modification of a method developed by Kreiborg was used to analyse the radiocephalograms, which included the digitisation of 88 landmarks in the calvaria, skull base, and orbit ( 42 in the lateral and 46 in the frontal projections), the production of plots of mean shape for each group, and the intergroup comparison of a series of 81 variables ( linear distance between selected landmarks, and angles defined by groups of three landmarks). Data from a subgroup of 66 patients aged 5 to 8 months were further compared to age-matched normative data in terms of seven angular and linear calvarial, cranial base and orbital variables. In a comparative analysis of the mean lateral plots, the foreheads of the study group ( SS) had a more pronounced anterior slope and were also more convex. The vertex area was located more anteriorly, and was less convex. The occipital curvature was more prominent. Analysis of the mean frontal plots revealed a lack in convexity and lateral projection of the upper parietal regions, as well as a lower location of the line of maximum skull width. Comparison of the mean values of an SS subgroup to age-matched normative data showed a longer (p <0.001) and narrower skull (p <0.001) and a greater interorbital distance (p <0.001). The cranial base angle, the sella to nasion, and sella to basion lengths did not differ significantly. Sagittal synostosis is characterised by an extensive deformity of the cranial vault, with an essentially normal cranial base. The widened interorbital distance is probably related to compensatory metopic hyperactivity.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalScandinavian Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Hand Surgery
    Issue number4
    Pages (from-to)193-199
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


    • radiography
    • pathology
    • cephalometry, craniosynostoses
    • surgery


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