Three-dimensional changes in head shape after extended sagittal strip craniectomy with wedge ostectomies and helmet therapy

Pang Yun Chou, Rami R. Hallac, Shitel Patel, Min Jeong Cho, Neil Stewart, James M. Smartt, James R. Seaward, Alex A. Kane, Christopher A. Derderian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Outcome studies for sagittal strip craniectomy have largely relied on the 2D measure of the cephalic index (CI) as the primary indicator of head shape. The goal of this study was to measure the 2D and 3D changes in head shape that occur after sagittal strip craniectomy and postoperative helmet therapy. METHODS: The authors performed a retrospective review of patients treated with sagittal strip craniectomy at their institution between January 2012 and October 2015. Inclusion criteria were as follows: 1) isolated sagittal synostosis; 2) age at surgery < 200 days; and 3) helmet management by a single orthotist. The CI was calculated from 3D images. Color maps and dot maps were generated from 3D images to demonstrate the regional differences in the magnitude of change in head shape over time. RESULTS: Twenty-one patients met the study inclusion criteria. The mean CI was 71.9 (range 63.0-77.9) preoperatively and 81.1 (range 73.0-89.8) at the end of treatment. The mean time to stabilization of the CI after surgery was 57.2 ± 32.7 days. The mean maximum distances between the surfaces of the preoperative and 1-week postoperative and between the surfaces of the preoperative and end-of-treatment 3D images were 13.0 ± 4.1 mm and 24.71 ± 6.83 mm, respectively. The zone of maximum change was distributed equally in the transverse and vertical dimensions of the posterior vault. CONCLUSIONS: The CI normalizes rapidly after sagittal strip craniectomy (57.2 days), with equal distribution of the change in CI occurring before and during helmet therapy. Three-dimensional analysis revealed significant vertical and transverse expansion of the posterior cranial vault. Further studies are needed to assess the 3D changes that occur after other sagittal strip craniectomy techniques.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)684-689
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2017


  • 3D imaging
  • Craniofacial
  • Molding helmet
  • Sagittal craniosynostosis
  • Strip craniectomy
  • Surgical outcome
  • Wedge ostectomies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology


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