Occult Scaphocephaly: A Forme Fruste Phenotype of Sagittal Craniosynostosis

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



The Journal of craniofacial surgery








INTRODUCTION: Latent cranial suture fusions may present with mild or absent phenotypic changes that make the clinical diagnosis challenging. Recent reports describe patients with sagittal synostosis and a normal cranial index (CI), a condition termed normocephalic sagittal craniosynostosis (NSC). The goal of this study is to evaluate the shape and intracranial volume (ICV) in a cohort of NSC patients using quantitative cranial shape analysis (CSA). METHODS: We identified 19 patients (7.5 ± 2.28 years) between 2011 and 2016, who presented to our hospital with NSC. Cranial index and CSA were measured from the computed tomography image. Cranial shape analysis calculates the distances between the patient's cranial shape and its closest normal shape. Intracranial volume was measured and compared to an established age-matched normative database. RESULTS: Cranial index revealed 15 (78.9%) patients within the mesocephalic range and 4 patients (21.1%) in the brachycephalic range. Detailed CSA identified 15 (78.9%) patients with subtle phenotypic changes along the scaphocephalic spectrum (ie, subtle anterior and posterior elongation with inter-parietal narrowing) and 1 patient (5.3%) with isolated overdevelopment on the posterior part of the right parietal bone. Three patients (15.8%) had a CSA close to normal. Mean ICV was 1410.5 ± 192.77cc; most patients (78.9%) fell within ±2 standard deviations. CONCLUSION: Quantitative CSA revealed that most of the patients with NSC had cranial shape abnormalities, consistent with a forme fruste scaphocephaly that could not be otherwise recognized by clinical observation or CI. Given these findings, we propose the term occult scaphocephaly to describe this condition. The associated incidence of intracranial hypertension is unknown.

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