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Craniosynostosis | Causes and Treatment

What is Craniosynostosis?Craniosynostosis

Craniosynostosis can be define as a disease that affects the growth of infant cranial structures, causing permanent disfigurement. The disease prematurely fuses sutures (joints) in the skull, thereby preventing growth in certain directions. This results in abnormal growth patterns, which can have serious effects on the shape of the head and facial features, and in severe cases on the development of the brain. The limitations on the growth of the cranium in specific directions results in compensatory growth in the allowed directions, i.e. the head will grow more in the unrestricted directions in an attempt to allow sufficient space for brain growth. However, this is not always successful and the growth restrictions caused by Craniosynostosis are sometimes so severe that they cause permanent eye damage and reduced intelligence and mental ability.

Affects and Causes

Craniosynostosis affects around 0.05% of new borns, approximately 10% of which suffer from Complex Craniosynostosis – in which more than one suture is affected. Some studies have found that a restriction on space inside the womb is a significant factor in future cranial bone growth. Furthermore, smoking and the use of recreational drugs during pregnancy increase the risk of the child developing Craniosynostosis. The disease also has a strong hereditary factor, with 8% of the children affected having parents with the same condition.

Surgery is currently the only treatment option available for patients suffering from Craniosynostosis. The aim of surgical intervention is to remove as many restrictions on the growth of the cranium as possible. This is done by excising the defective sutures and repairing the damage from any uneven growth that has already taken place. In order to minimize deformity, the surgery should take place as soon as the disease has been diagnosed, ideally when the child is only a few months old. At this stage the cranium is still flexible and can be remoulded by the surgeons. The older the child gets, the more inelastic and fragile the bone diseases becomes, rendering the surgery more complicated and dangerous.

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Test Your Knowledge

How Many Bones in the Human Body?

An adult has a total of 206 bones in their skeleton

How many Bones in a Child's Body?

A newborn baby has 270 bones in the skeletal system. Most of their skeleton is made up of cartilage which forms bone as it hardens over time. The bones in a child's skeleton fuse together as they grow, reducing the number, up until about 25 years old.

What is The Strongest Bone in the Human Body?

The femur or thigh bone is the strongest bone in the body. It is situated between the pelvis and the knee. It is also the longest bone in the body and is fully one quarter of your bodies' height.

What is the Weakest Bone in The Body?

The weakest bones in your body are the tiny bones inside your ear that enable you to hear. On the other hand; the most commonly fractured bone is the clavicle.

What is the Hardest Bone in the Body?

The hardest bone in the body is the petrous portion of the temporal bone. The temporal bones are found at the sides and base of the skull and the petrous portion is specifically the part at the base of the skull that contains the organs for hearing.

Where are the Smallest bones in Your Body Located?

The smallest bone in the body is called the stapes. It is a stirrup shaped bone found inside the ear drum that transmits vibrations enabling us to hear.

How many Bones are in the Leg?

A human leg contains 30 bones. There are 26 bones that make up the foot, and the four major bones of the leg, which are the thigh bone (femur), the shin bone (tibia), the calf bone (fibula) and the knee cap (patella)