Photographic assessment of head shape following sagittal synostosis surgery

Jayesh Panchal, Jeffrey L. Marsh, T. S. Park, Bruce Kaufman, Thomas Pilgram

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


A photographic assessment of the head shape of infants who had undergone surgical correction of sagittal synostosis was performed to determine (a) whether this subset could be delineated from an age-matched normal subpopulation and (b) whether two operative procedures differed in achieving normalization of head shape. This retrospective study included 8 patients who underwent extended strip craniectomy, 12 patients who underwent subtotal calvarectomy and cranial vault remodeling, and 12 age-matched subjects with no calvarial abnormality, for a total of 32 subjects. Criteria for inclusion in this study included surgery for sagittal synostosis within the first year of life and postoperative photographs at ages 4 to 8 years (mean, 4.5 years). Each set of images (frontal and lateral profile) were ranked from most to least normal by five lay observers and four professional observers. The rankings were analyzed with statistics designed for ordinal data. Differences in ranking between treatment groups were examined with Kruskal-Wallis rank sums tests. Mean ranks were calculated for lay and professional observers in an attempt to produce simpler and more generalizable results; these means were also analyzed using statistics designed for ordinal data. There was no statistical difference in the ranks of infants who had undergone a surgical correction and the normal subpopulation. In the mean rankings of the lay observers, the normal groups had the highest score mean (15.6), the group with extended strip craniectomy was second (16.0), and the subtotal calvarectomy with calvarial remodeling group was last (17.8) (p = 0.84). In the mean rankings of the professional observers, the normal groups again had the highest score mean (15.8), the subtotal calvarectomy group was second (15.9), and the extended craniectomy group was last (18.6) (p = 0.77). These results suggest that children who have undergone correction of sagittal synostosis in infancy are indistinguishable from their peers, on the basis of fully haired head shape on frontal and lateral photographs; when they begin primary school, irrespective of the type of calvarial surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1585-1591
Number of pages7
JournalPlastic and reconstructive surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 1999


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