The Craniofacial Anomalies Multidisciplinary Program (CAMP) at the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital is one of the largest craniofacial programs in the region. Our renowned craniofacial surgeons specialize in the treatment of craniosynostosis.

Craniosynostosis refers to a type of birth defect that involves the premature fusion, or closure, of one or more “seams” on a baby’s skull. These seams, which are called sutures, connect individual skull bones. Trigonocephaly is a fusion of the forehead suture and is one form of craniosynostosis.

When these sutures are open, they allow the skull to expand evenly when the brain grows during infancy. When a suture has closed too early, the skull cannot expand in a uniform fashion. In some cases, this may lead to increased pressure on the brain. This is called elevated intracranial pressure, which can produce signs and symptoms such as headaches, irritability, visual changes and developmental delays. Elevated intracranial pressure occurs approximately 13 percent of the time when a single suture is affected and up to 42 percent of the time when multiple sutures have fused early.

How is Craniosynostosis Diagnosed?

Craniosynostosis is usually diagnosed by a specialist who is experienced in examining a child’s head shape, such as a pediatric neurosurgeon or pediatric plastic surgeon. Special X-ray tests such as computerized tomography (CT) scans can be used to confirm the diagnosis by revealing the fused suture.

Proper diagnosis is important because craniosynostosis should not be confused with plagiocephaly, a term that refers to a crooked head shape without a fused suture. This distinction is critical because craniosynostosis is usually treated with surgery, while plagiocephaly is treated with nonsurgical therapy.

How is Craniosynostosis Treated?

If surgery is recommended for your child, our specialists will present a detailed discussion of the treatment options with you. Typically, surgery is performed in infancy (at three to nine months of age), depending upon the technique. Our priority is to perform surgery when it is safest for your child and to minimize surgical and post-surgical risks.

Surgical Procedures

Post-Surgery Considerations

After the surgery, your child will be admitted to our pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) for dedicated nursing care and monitoring. Depending on the length of the surgery, your child’s surgeon and anesthesiologist may choose to keep a breathing tube in as a precaution. In such cases, the breathing tube will be removed when it's deemed safe by one of the intensive care physicians.

Your surgeon will manage your child’s wound dressing and drain care. Usually, a postoperative CT scan is needed to check the skull. A typical hospital stay ranges from three to five days.

When your child is discharged from the hospital, you will receive printed instructions with information on caring for your child’s incision(s) at home, your child’s medication regimen and contact information in case of an emergency or questions. Further instructions will be provided at your child’s first postoperative outpatient visit, which is typically two to three weeks after surgery.

Plastic and reconstructive surgeon Russell Reid, MD, PhD., with Trish Lawson and her daughter Molly Lawson, 15 months old, at the Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine (DCAM)

Craniofacial Anomalies Multidisciplinary Program (CAMP)

Our Craniofacial Anomalies Multidisciplinary Program (CAMP), one of the largest in the region, provides a thorough, team-based approach for the evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of children with craniosynostosis.

Learn more about our CAMP program

Leia's Story

Video placeholder

Leia's Story

The doctors and specialists in the Craniofacial Anomalies Multidisciplinary Program (CAMP) at UChicago Medicine's Comer Children's Hospital reshaped the skull of young Leia Annerino, who was diagnosed with craniosynostosis.
Watch Video With Transcript

Patient Information

Your care and well-being are our primary concerns, and we want your stay to be as comfortable as possible.

Patient Information

Directions & Maps

We are here to help you find the best way to navigate to our locations. We offer step-by-step directions from every direction.

Directions & Maps

Second Opinions

Seeking the opinion of an expert can ease your mind and help you feel more secure in the medical decisions you are making.

Request a second opinion

Clinical Trials

Our research gives our patients access to new treatments and therapies.

View all clinical trials

Classes & Events

We offer relevant classes, screenings and support groups to help you lead a healthier life.

See all classes and events