The London Orthotic Consultancy is providing bespoke helmets for those babies that have undergone Craniosynostosis surgery at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
What is craniosynostosis?
At birth a baby’s skull is made up of bony ‘plates’ separated by ‘sutures’. The sutures eventually fuse or close so that the skull’s role as a protective shell for the brain is complete. This normally happens by the age of 20-24 months. In Craniosynostosis one or more of the sutures prematurely fuse, either in the womb before the baby is born or after delivery. It can restrict the growth of the skull from the fused suture, potentially restricting space for growth of the brain, therefore affecting development of the brain. The restriction to growth from a suture also causes misshapen or asymmetric growth.
The most common form of Craniosynostosis is sagittal synostosis where the sagittal suture, located at the top of the head, fuses too early. Confusingly the resulting head shape looks very like Scaphocephaly, one of the presentations of Positional Plagiocephaly – the skull is long from front to back and narrow from ear to ear. If you run your hand along the top of the head, a ridge may be felt. Visually you will see frontal bossing and a more prominent and defined occipital bone at the back.
Another type of craniosynostosis is metopic synostosis whereby the suture running down the centre of the forehead to the bridge of the nose fuses prematurely. The resulting head shape is known as trigonocephaly characterised by the forehead being pointed and triangular in shape. The eyes being close set and the outside edge of the brow ridge being underdeveloped are also characteristic of this synostosis. Ridging of the suture may also be present.
Unicoronal synostosis is another type of craniosynostosis day which is characterised by flattening of the forehead on the side of the affected suture. The outside edge of the eyebrow ridge is underdeveloped and there is bossing of the forehead on the opposite side. There is generally asymmetry of the skull base and face, with displacement of the ears and lateral deviation of the nose away from the side of the frontal flattening.
How is it treated?
The conventional treatment for Craniosynostosis has been open cranial surgery – to correct the shape of the head and allow for normal brain growth. Great Ormond Street Hospital is pioneering a new approach - the removal of the fused suture by endoscopic strip craniectomy as an alternative, less intrusive option than the traditional surgery. The London Orthotic Consultancy provides the post-operative orthotic treatment required. For the first three months after surgery the baby’s head is protected by LOC’s specially designed Cranioband, this is made of flexible, translucent plastic. After this period the baby progresses to wearing one of our bespoke helmets to correct the baby’s head shape as healing continues and the baby undergoes its growth spurt – just as in the LOCband treatment for positional plagiocephaly.
Price of post-operative treatment
Cranioband treatment course service fee - £1,500
Cranioband Orthosis - £750
LOCband Orthosis - £950