Normocephalic sagittal craniosynostosis in young children is common and unrecognized.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Sagittal craniosynostosis (SC) is usually diagnosed during early childhood by the presence of scaphocephaly. Recently, our group found 3.3% of children under 5 years of age with normocephalic sagittal craniosynostosis (NSC) using computed tomography (CT) scans. This paper aims to validate our preliminary findings using a larger cohort of patients, and analyze factors associated with incidental NSC.


A retrospective review of head CT scans in patients aged 0 to 71 months who presented to the emergency department of our tertiary care institution between 2008 and 2020 was completed. Patients with syndromes associated with craniosynostosis (CS), history of hydrocephalus, or other brain/cranial abnormalities were excluded. Two craniofacial surgeons reviewed the CT scans to evaluate the presence and extent of CS. Demographic information, gestational age, past medical and family history, medications, and chief complaint were recorded as covariates, and differences between patients with and without CS were analyzed. Furthermore, comparison of the prevalence of CS across age groups was studied. Additional analysis exploring association between independent covariates and the presence of CS was performed in two sub-cohorts: patients ≤ 24 months of age and patients > 24 months of age.


A total of 870 scans were reviewed. SC was observed in 41 patients (4.71% - 25 complete, 16 incomplete), all with a normal cranial index (width/length > 0.7). The prevalence of SC increased up to 36 months of age, then plateaued through 72 months of age. Patients under 2 years of age with family history of neurodevelopmental disease had 49.32 (95% CI [4.28, 567.2]) times higher odds of developing CS. Sub-cohort of patients above 24 months of age showed no variable independently predicted developing CS.


NSC in young children is common. While the impact of this condition is unknown, the correlation with family history of neurodevelopmental disease is concerning.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Manrique, M; Mantilla-Rivas, E; Rana, MS; Crowder, H; Oh, N; Oh, AK; Keating, RF; Rogers, GF

Published Date

  • August 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 38 / 8

Start / End Page

  • 1549 - 1556

PubMed ID

  • 35716184

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1433-0350

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0256-7040

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s00381-022-05533-4


  • eng