Child's Nervous System

, Volume 28, Issue 6, pp 869–877 | Cite as

Neurodevelopmental functioning of infants with untreated single-suture craniosynostosis during early infancy

  • Annette C. Da CostaEmail author
  • Vicki A. Anderson
  • Ravi Savarirayan
  • Jacquie A. Wrennall
  • David K. Chong
  • Anthony D. Holmes
  • Andrew L. Greensmith
  • John G. Meara
Original Paper



Single-suture craniosynostosis (SSC) is a congenital craniofacial disorder, in which premature fusion of one of the skull sutures restricts and distorts growth of the cranium and underlying brain. This disorder of prenatal onset occurs during a critical phase of rapid growth and development of the immature brain. Craniosynostosis carries a known risk of developmental impairment. The neurodevelopmental sequelae of SSC prior to treatment remains however incompletely understood. This study sought to determine the neurodevelopmental sequelae of untreated single-suture craniosynostosis during early infancy.


Fifty-six consecutive patients with unoperated SSC (sagittal, metopic and unicoronal) comprised the sample cohort. Patients were aged between 4 and 16 months (M = 8.9 months, SD = 2.9 months). Neurodevelopmental functioning was assessed with the mental (Mental Development Index) and motor (Psychomotor Development Index) scales of the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, second edition.


Children with SSC displayed significantly lower mean mental (M = 97.7, SD = 6.7, p < 0.05) and motor (M = 87.7, SD = 13.0, p < 0.001) scores than normative population averages. The distribution of these scores also differed significantly from the normative distribution; an increased rate of significant motor developmental delay was found, and none of the children displayed accelerated development. Subgroup comparisons between the primary diagnostic subtypes in this sample revealed no significant differences in mental or motor skill functioning.


Untreated SSC is associated with an increased incidence of developmental delay during early infancy, with motor skills appearing the most vulnerable to impairment during this developmental phase.


Craniosynostosis Neurodevelopmental function Craniofacial anomalies Early brain development 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Annette C. Da Costa
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
    Email author
  • Vicki A. Anderson
    • 2
    • 4
  • Ravi Savarirayan
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Jacquie A. Wrennall
    • 6
  • David K. Chong
    • 1
  • Anthony D. Holmes
    • 1
    • 4
  • Andrew L. Greensmith
    • 1
    • 4
  • John G. Meara
    • 2
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Plastic and Maxillofacial SurgeryThe Royal Children’s HospitalMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Murdoch Childrens Research InstituteMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.Victorian Clinical Genetic ServiceMelbourneAustralia
  4. 4.The University of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  5. 5.Children’s Hospital BostonBostonUSA
  6. 6.Department of PsychologyThe Royal Children’s HospitalMelbourneAustralia

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