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Distraction osteogenesis of the cranial vault for the treatment of craniofacial synostosis.

  • Cho, Byung Chae
  • Hwang, Sung Kyu
  • Uhm, Ki Il
Published Article
The Journal of craniofacial surgery
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2004
PMID: 14704580


From January 2000 to December 2001, six patients with craniosynostosis were treated. Involved sutures were coronal sutures in three patients, coronal and metopic sutures in one patient, multiple sutures (brachycephaly and oxycephaly) in one patient, and multiple sutures with a cloverleaf skull deformity in one patient. The age distribution of the patients was 4 months to 3 years. Four were male, and two were female. A frontal craniotomy was performed in four patients with brachycephaly. In one patient with brachycephaly, the osteotomies were made across the nasofrontal junction, across the roof of the orbit, and along the lateral orbital wall. In one patient with a cloverleaf skull deformity, a frontal bone osteotomy was first performed 1 cm above the roof of the orbit. A supraorbital frontal bar was then made across the nasofrontal junction, across the roof of the orbit, and down to the lateral orbital wall. The frontal bone flap was repositioned to the supraorbital bar using absorbable miniplates and screws. Distraction was started 3 to 7 days after the operation at a distraction rate of 1 mm/d. The real duration of the first operation was 90 to 120 minutes, and the second operation to remove the device took 40 to 50 minutes to perform. The distracted length was 15 to 25 mm. The consolidation period was 3 to 5 weeks. The follow-up period was 6 months to 1 year. Postoperative three-dimensional computed tomography demonstrated reossification at the bone flap and advancement of the fronto-orbital area. After surgery, the cranial volume increased 22.7% on average compared with before surgery. The mean ratio of the anteroposterior length to the transverse length of the cranial vault was changed from 0.96 before surgery to 1.04 after surgery. In conclusion, the advantages of distraction osteogenesis of the cranial vault are that it offers a less invasive technique, a shorter operation time, easy care, and postoperative safety as a result of minimal dissection of the dura. Disadvantages are the limited possibility of initial reshaping and the necessity of one more operation for device removal.


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