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Is Craniosynostosis Repair Keeping Up With the Times? Results From the Largest National Survey on Craniosynostosis

Alperovich, Michael MD; Vyas, Raj M. MD; Staffenberg, David A. MD

doi: 10.1097/SCS.0000000000001300
Original Articles

Background: Given the great variability in perioperative management of craniosynostosis, a large-scale national survey of current practice patterns was conducted.

Methods: Using scaphocephaly as a test diagnosis, 115 craniofacial surgeons at all levels of career experience across the United States were invited to participate in an anonymous survey.

Results: Fifty-three surgeons (46%) completed the survey. All respondents complete repair before 1 year of age with a majority operating between 4 and 8 months. Surgeons with greater than 10 years of experience were significantly more likely to perform open repair at extremes of age (<4 months and 8–12 months) (P = 0.03) and reported shorter operative times (P = 0.01) compared with their less experienced colleagues. More than two-thirds of surgeons (68.8%) obtain preoperative imaging for every case; 83% of these prefer computed tomography scans. More than one-fourth of respondents (28%) routinely prescribe an extended course (>24 hours) of antibiotics. Overall transfusion rates remain high, with nearly 2 (65.2%) in 3 transfusing in 76% to 100% of operations. The overwhelming majority of respondents (93.6%) routinely send patients to an intensive care unit postoperatively.

Conclusions: We present the largest US survey of craniosynostosis surgical practice patterns to date. General consensus exists regarding safety and emergency preparedness standards. In addition, we identified several patterns that deviate from published evidence-based guidelines. Specifically, these practices relate to the routine use of high-dose radiation imaging, long-term antibiotics, blood transfusions, and intensive postoperative surveillance. For the first time, stratifying by surgeon experience revealed significant differences in clinical practice.

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Department of Plastic Surgery, New York University Langone Medical Center, New York, NY.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Michael Alperovich, MD, NYU Langone Medical Center, 307 E 33rd St, New York, NY 10016; E-mail:

Received 2 April, 2014

Accepted 19 August, 2014

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

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© 2015 by Mutaz B. Habal, MD.