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Sagittal synostosis: II. Cranial morphology and growth after the modified pi-plasty.

Journal article
Authors José Guimarães-Ferreira
Fredrik Gewalli
Lisa David
Tron A Darvann
Nuno V Hermann
Sven Kreiborg
Hans Friede
Claes G Lauritzen
Published in Scandinavian journal of plastic and reconstructive surgery and hand surgery / Nordisk plastikkirurgisk forening [and] Nordisk klubb for handkirurgi
Volume 40
Issue 4
Pages 200-9
ISSN 0284-4311
Publication year 2006
Published at Institute of Odontology
Institute of Clinical Sciences
Pages 200-9
Language en
Keywords Case-Control Studies, Cephalometry, Child, Child, Preschool, Craniotomy, methods, Humans, Image Processing, Computer-Assisted, Infant, Longitudinal Studies, Skull, growth & development, radiography, surgery, Synostosis, radiography, surgery
Subject categories Plastic surgery


The aim of this study was to characterise the postoperative cranial growth and morphology after a modified pi-plasty for sagittal synostosis. The shape of the skull of 82 patients with isolated premature synostosis of the sagittal suture (SS group) operated on with a modified pi-plasty was studied longitudinally. Forty-five children with unilateral incomplete cleft lip (UICL), evaluated longitudinally at the ages of 2.4 and 23.2 months were used as controls. A standardised radiocephalometric technique was used for image acquisition. The radiocephalograms were analysed using a modification of a method developed by Kreiborg, which included the digitisation of 89 landmarks of the calvaria, cranial base, and orbit (43 in the lateral and 46 in the frontal projections), the production of mean shape plots for each group, and the intergroup comparison of a series of 78 variables (linear distance between selected landmarks, and angles defined by groups of three landmarks). Paired and unpaired t tests were used to assess the differences between the variables studied. These were accepted as significant for values of p<0.01 and were presented as coloured segments or areas in the respective plots. In a comparative analysis with the mean UICL lateral plots, the mean preoperative lateral plots of the study group (SS) showed that the anterior slope of the forehead was more pronounced and it was also more convex. The vertex area was located more anteriorly and was less convex. The occipital curvature was more prominent. Comparison of the mean frontal plots showed a deficiency in convexity and lateral projection of the upper parietal regions, and the line of maximum skull width was lower. The postoperative mean lateral plots of the study group showed a correction of the exaggerated anterior inclination of the forehead and a reduction of the abnormal occipital convexity. However, there was little change in the vertex region and it remained flatter than in the control group. In the mean frontal plots, the increase in convexity and in the lateral projection of the upper parietal areas led to a shape that was similar to that of the UICL group. The mean (SD) cephalic index changed from 64.9% (1.8%) to 71.4% (3.5%) (p<0.001). The longitudinal comparison between the mean postoperative plots at 3 and 5 years of age showed that there had been little change in cranial shape. In conclusion, after a modified pi-plasty for sagittal synostosis, significant objective changes in cranial shape towards normality were produced. The postoperative profile cranial shape was improved except in the vertex area, which remained flatter than normal. In the frontal projection an almost normal shape was obtained. The postoperative cranial shape obtained at 3 years of age had remained stable at the age of 5 years.

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