One in every 2,000 children in the United States has craniosynostosis resulting from a birth defect in which the bones of the skull prematurely close and constrict growth of the child’s brain and lead to vision problems. An improved treatment option at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital in NewYork-Presbyterian gives plastic surgeons greater control in reshaping the skull.

Traditionally, craniosynostosis was treated using metal screws and plates. Now, pediatric plastic surgeons use absorbable plates made of a combination of polyglycolic and polylactic acid that are absorbed by the body much like surgical sutures. The plates can be placed wherever is necessary—including the forehead bone. Another advantage is that absorbable plates do not interfere with x-rays as do metal plates and screws.

"Deformities like a misshapen head can be very traumatic for parents," says Jeffrey Ascherman, MD, director of the Division of Plastic Surgery and director of the Cleft/Craniofacial Center at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital and associate professor of clinical surgery at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. "It is important for the child’s pediatrician to detect the condition early and for parents to seek the best specialized care for their child."

[www.newswise.com, September 5, 2006]