The use of posterior calvarial distraction (PCD) for the management of craniosynostosis is well recognized. The advantages of using this technique include increased cranial volume, decreased intracranial pressure, relief of posterior fossa crowding, improved cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) circulation at the cranio-cervical junction with cessation, and possible resolution of syrinx.
The authors retrospectively review their first 50 patients who have undergone PCD under the senior author's care in our unit.
The demographics, diagnoses, intraoperative approach with techniques in distractor placement and outcomes of each patient were obtained through an electronic craniofacial database and written patient records. Analysis of complication rates (bleeding, distraction problems, CSF leaks, and infection) was included.
A total of 31 boys and 19 girls underwent the procedure between October 2006 and September 2015 with a median age was 17.7 months (range 4 months to 19 years). Of those 50 children, 34 of the cohort were proven to be syndromic by genetic testing.
The median length of inpatient stay was 9.4 days (range 3–43 days). Average distraction distance was 24 mm.
Complications including CSF leaks, bleeding, distractor problems, and severe complications (recorded in 3 patients) are discussed. Our overall complication rate was 50%.
Favorable outcomes included resolution of Chiari, syrinx, and raised intracranial pressure in the majority of patients where distraction was successful.
The authors recommend that PCD should be considered the primary treatment for increasing calvarial volume. The authors discuss our experiences and technical innovations over the past decade.