Combined metopic and unilateral coronal synostoses: A phenotypic conundrum

Tina M. Sauerhammer, Kamlesh Patel, Albert K. Oh, Mark R. Proctor, John B. Mulliken, Gary F. Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Most types of craniosynostosis cause predictable changes in cranial shape. However, the phenotype of combined metopic and unilateral coronal synostoses is anomalous. The purpose of this observational study was to better clarify the clinical and radiographic features of this rare entity. METHODS: A retrospective review of a craniofacial database was performed. Patients with combined metopic and unilateral coronal synostoses were included in this study. Data collected included demographic information, physical and radiographic findings, genetic evaluation, treatment, and operative outcomes. RESULTS: Of 687 patients treated between 1989 and 2010, only 3 patients had combined metopic and unilateral coronal synostoses. All patients were diagnosed through computed tomography on the first day of life. Phenotypic features included the following: (1) narrowed forehead with a prominent midline ridge, (2) severe bilateral brow retrusion with an acute indentation on the side of the patient coronal suture, (3) facial and nasal angulation similar to isolated unilateral coronal synostosis, and (4) anterior displacement of the ear on the fused side. In addition, the cranial vertex was deviated toward the side of the open coronal suture. Two patients had a head circumference below the 25th percentile; 2 of the 3 had a TWIST gene mutation consistent with Saethre-Chotzen syndrome. One patient was managed through fronto-orbital advancement and required a revision. The other 2 patients had early endoscopic release, followed by postoperative helmet therapy; one improved but still required open cranial remodeling. The other has near-normal phenotype, and no further surgery is planned. CONCLUSIONS: Combined metopic and unilateral coronal synostoses present a rare and unusual phenotype. Although early intervention improves the deformity, revisional procedures are usually required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-440
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Craniofacial Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • Craniosynostosis
  • Saethre-Chotzen syndrome
  • combined craniosynostoses
  • complex craniosynostosis
  • metopic synostosis
  • unilateral coronal synostosis


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