Cranial Disorders and Head Shape

The skull of a newborn is composed of mobile bony plates separated by spaces, called “sutures,” that allow the head to grow. During your child’s regular pediatric appointments, your pediatrician will monitor your baby’s head circumference and track progress in developmental milestones.

The pediatric neurosurgeons, craniofacial plastic surgeons, and neurologists at Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital are dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment, and management of complex skull issues in infants and toddlers, including the use of minimally invasive surgeries when possible.

What are the symptoms?
Subtle abnormalities may be a sign of craniosynostosis (early closure of the sutures), positional plagiocephaly (flattened head), or hydrocephalus (fluid build-up in the brain), which affect brain growth and development.

These disorders may lead to physical and developmental problems, including effects on your baby’s head shape, facial development, and brain growth and development.

Evaluations in Head Shape 
The bones in your baby’s skull are normally separated by spaces referred to as suture lines. These sutures allow the skull to expand for your baby’s rapidly growing brain in the first few years of life and eventually fuse to complete skull development. Our craniofacial experts will evaluate whether your child has a premature fusion of one or more cranial sutures, clinically known as craniosynostosis.

  • Metopic Suture
    Located between the two frontal bones, the metopic suture extends from the top of the forehead toward the nose. It begins closing in the first few months of age and is typically closed by one year.
  • Coronal Sutures
    Extended from both sides of the anterior fontanelle (soft spot) toward the front of the ear. They begin to close around two years of age.
  • Sagittal Suture
    It runs midline on top of the head from the anterior fontanelle to the posterior fontanelle. It begins to close around two years of age.
  • Lambdoid Sutures
    Extend across the back of the head from the posterior fontanelle. They begin to close after two years of age. 

What should I do if my child has signs of craniosynostosis or positional plagiocephaly?
Call our office at 212-241-0954 or email for a consultation. We will schedule your child for a clinical evaluation, order imaging (if applicable), and may opt to monitor your child over time to ensure proper development. If we think your child may require other resources or special services, we will refer you to the appropriate team of specialists. Many children require only routine follow-up with their primary care provider.

What happens if you diagnose my child with craniosynostosis?
We will take you through the steps of pre-surgical evaluation, surgical treatment options and after-care. Our experienced craniofacial team will answer all your questions and prepare you and your family with a treatment plan that works for you.