Craniosynostosis Surgery: Cost, Risk, Recovery

Overview

Craniosynostosis is a birth defect of the head. It happens when the fibrous joints (sutures) between a baby’s skull bones close prematurely. This condition can cause an abnormal head shape or restrict growth of the brain in some cases.

A craniosynostosis surgery is a reconstructive procedure to solve the problems mentioned above. It corrects the abnormal head shape, allowing enough room for the baby’s brain to grow normally. This surgery requires the joint efforts of a plastic surgeon and a neurosurgeon.

Candidates

A good candidate for craniosynostosis surgery include:

  • Young infants. Most craniosynostosis surgery are done before the age of one and some before 3 to 4 months old infants.
  • Child with a fused suture
  • Child with other several medical problems include heart attack should have extra careness

Risks

A craniosynostosis surgery may give rise to the same risks as any other surgery, including:

  • Breathing problems
  • Infection, including in the lungs and urinary tract
  • Blood loss (children having an open repair may need a transfusion)
  • Reaction to medicines

Additionally, this surgery has its own risks, including:

  • Infection in the brain
  • Possibility for more surgery because of the relapse of the disease
  • Brain swelling
  • Damage to brain tissue

Costs

On average, the costs for a craniosynostosis range from $2544 to $3392. This does not include the hospitalization or the anesthesia. Particularly, the patients go through helmets post-surgery will cost a lot. Craniosynostosis surgery may be covered by insurance when it is performed to treat a functional problem.

Preparation

Before giving a craniosynostosis surgery to your baby, the surgeon will have another appointment to discuss with you the surgical procedure. And then you will be asked to sign a consent form. Then, you should take your children to do lab tests at least five working days prior to the surgery date.

A day or two before the surgery, you surgeon will give you instructions for drinking and eating via a phone call. Your child’s stomach must be completely empty before surgery for safety reasons related to anesthesia, so you should not feed your child with any food, water or formula at this time. You must arrive at the hospital the morning of surgery.

How it is done

This surgery includes the following steps:

  • General anesthesia, including medications for sedation and pain control. Is applied to the baby throughout the whole process of the surgical procedure. Blood products are also needed.
  • The incisions vary in different situations. But typically, an incision extends over the top of the head from ear to ear. The incisions will still be made within the hair-bearing portions of the scalp. This will make the scars not so obvious after surgery.
  • After the incision is made, surgeons will make cuts in the bone to release the fused suture. Additional cuts are also important for reshaping the head and ensuring normal expansion of the brain.
  • The scalp incisions will be closed with absorbable sutures and will not need to be removed.

After all these steps of the surgery are completed, you may wait for the improvement of your baby’s condition.

Recovery

Immediately after the surgery, your surgeon will use some facilities to protect your child’s from bothering the surgical site. Arm restraints or a turban dressing on your child’s head will come off automatically once he or she is awake and alert. Multiple IVs, or in rare cases, a drain in their scalp removes excess fluid after surgery.

Most children are required to stay at the hospital for three to four days after surgery. And your baby is expected return to regular feeding habits pretty soon.

It’s normal for your baby to have irregular sleep patterns. Your surgeons might prescribe acetaminophen and pain medication to increase your baby’s comfort. As a parent, you need to supervise your child closely and carefully at home for a full recovery.

Keywords: craniosynostosis surgery.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.