Hydrocephalus treatment in patients with craniosynostosis: an analysis from the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network prospective registry

Christopher M. Bonfield, Chevis N. Shannon, Ron W. Reeder, Samuel Browd, James Drake, Jason S. Hauptman, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, David D. Limbrick, Patrick J. McDonald, Robert Naftel, Ian F. Pollack, Jay Riva-Cambrin, Curtis Rozzelle, Mandeep S. Tamber, William E. Whitehead, John R.W. Kestle, John C.Wellons III

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective Hydrocephalus may be seen in patients with multisuture craniosynostosis and, less commonly, singlesuture craniosynostosis. The optimal treatment for hydrocephalus in this population is unknown. In this study, the authors aimed to evaluate the success rate of ventriculoperitoneal shunt (VPS) treatment and endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) both with and without choroid plexus cauterization (CPC) in patients with craniosynostosis. Methods Utilizing the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network (HCRN) Core Data Project (Registry), the authors identified all patients who underwent treatment for hydrocephalus associated with craniosynostosis. Descriptive statistics, demographics, and surgical outcomes were evaluated. Results In total, 42 patients underwent treatment for hydrocephalus associated with craniosynostosis. The median gestational age at birth was 39.0 weeks (IQR 38.0, 40.0); 55% were female and 60% were White. The median age at first craniosynostosis surgery was 0.6 years (IQR 0.3, 1.7), and at the first permanent hydrocephalus surgery it was 1.2 years (IQR 0.5, 2.5). Thirty-three patients (79%) had multiple different sutures fused, and 9 had a single suture: 3 unicoronal (7%), 3 sagittal (7%), 2 lambdoidal (5%), and 1 unknown (2%). Syndromes were identified in 38 patients (90%), with Crouzon syndrome being the most common (n = 16, 42%). Ten patients (28%) received permanent hydrocephalus surgery before the first craniosynostosis surgery. Twenty-eight patients (67%) underwent VPS treatment, with the remaining 14 (33%) undergoing ETV with or without CPC (ETV ± CPC). Within 12 months after initial hydrocephalus intervention, 14 patients (34%) required revision (8 VPS and 6 ETV ± CPC). At the most recent follow-up, 21 patients (50%) required a revision. The revision rate decreased as age increased. The overall infection rate was 5% (VPS 7%, 0% ETV ± CPC). Conclusions This is the largest prospective study reported on children with craniosynostosis and hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus in children with craniosynostosis most commonly occurs in syndromic patients and multisuture fusion. It is treated at varying ages; however, most patients undergo surgery for craniosynostosis prior to hydrocephalus treatment. While VPS treatment is performed more frequently, VPS and ETV are both reasonable options, with decreasing revision rates with increasing age, for the treatment of hydrocephalus associated with craniosynostosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalNeurosurgical focus
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • craniosynostosis
  • endoscopic third ventriculostomy
  • hydrocephalus
  • ventriculoperitoneal shunt


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