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Spring-Mediated Cranial Reshaping For Craniosynostosis

David, Lisa R. MD*; Proffer, Patrick MD*; Hurst, William J. MA; Glazier, Stephen MD; Argenta, Louis C. MD*

Journal of Craniofacial Surgery: September 2004 - Volume 15 - Issue 5 - p 810-816
Clinical Experience

The evolution of modern craniofacial surgery has come full circle from the early strip craniectomies to the complete calvarial remodeling and now back to attempts at minimally invasive surgical interventions. The goal of the craniofacial surgeon has always been the correction of form and function with minimization of associated morbidity and mortality. Particularly problematic has been the ability to maintain the anatomical correction beyond the result seen on the operating room table secondary to changes with growth. The ability to improve the clinical result in a growing and developing child has been the impetus for dynamic treatment modalities. Dr Claes Lauritzen’s pioneering work in this area has been particularly successful using internal springs to correct craniofacial deformities. The purpose of this study is to assess this treatment modality clinically in terms of safety and efficacy and to develop a methodology for the spring formation that would be easily reproducible. This is an institutional review board-approved prospective study of 15 children (11 male, 4 female) with non-syndromic sagittal suture synostosis. All patients were treated with a sagittal strip craniectomy and placement of 2 omega-shaped stainless steel springs at a mean age of 3.9 months. Patients were followed clinically and with cephalograms; after reossification of the intervening bone, the springs were removed at a mean age of 8.2 months. The mean force applied at initial placement of the springs was 6.9 N, and the mean spring deflection at formation was 6.87 cm. All patients completed the study protocol without any significant morbidity or any mortality. Perioperative variables, including blood loss, transfusion rate, operative time, intensive care unit stay, hospital stay, and hospital charges, were all significantly less (P < 0.05) in this study group compared with children with the same diagnosis treated with cranial vault reshaping during the same period. Furthermore, the preoperative mean cephalic index of 64.3 corrected to 77.6 after surgery and was maintained over time. Spring-mediated cranial reshaping is efficacious and safe for the treatment of sagittal synostosis. Long-term study of cranial development and clinical morphology are ongoing to validate further the effectiveness of this treatment modality.

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

From the Departments of *Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Neurosurgery, Wake Forest University Medical School, Winston-Salem, North Carolina; and Department of Medical Engineering Virginia Polytechnic School, Blacksburg, Virginia.

Address correspondence to Dr David, Department of Plastic Surgery, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157-1075; e-mail:

© 2004 Mutaz B. Habal, MD