Despite surgical correction of unilateral craniosynostosis (ULC), complex cranial base angulation can result in partial reversion to preoperative deformity with growth and time. Using 3-dimensional imaging, dysmorphic facial features of ULC in school-age patients were quantified and related to how they contribute to overall facial asymmetry and patient-reported outcomes.
Children who underwent surgical correction of ULC were recruited from Yale University and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The 3D photographs were analyzed utilizing a Procrustes analysis of shape. Pearson's correlation was used to determine dysmorphic features’ impact on overall asymmetry. Patients were stratified into “moderate” and “severe” asymmetry. Finally, asymmetry was correlated to patient-reported outcome scores. Statistical analysis was performed with SPSS-25 with P < 0.05 as statistically significant.
Twenty-one patients were included with average age at analysis of 12.3 years. Fifty-seven percent of patients had right-sided fusion. The overall Procrustes analysis indicated a root mean square difference of 2.21 mm. Pearson's correlation indicated that the facial middle 3rd (P ≤ 0.001), orbital dystopia (P < 0.001), chin point deviation (P = 0.011), and nasal root angulation (P = 0.019) contributed most to overall asymmetry. Patients in the severe asymmetry cohort had greater facial middle-third asymmetry (P < 0.001) and orbital dystopia (P < 0.001). Asymmetry did not correlate with patient-reported outcomes.
Patients with ULC have persistent facial asymmetry at school-age with the greatest levels of asymmetry in the facial middle-third, orbit, and nasal root. Beyond the cranial dysmorphology, initial skull base angulation in unilateral coronal craniosynostosis manifests in long-term mid and lower-third facial asymmetry.