BACKGROUND: The optimal type of surgical management for isolated sagittal synostosis remains a source of significant debate. There is a paucity of data regarding possible differences in long-term neuropsychological outcomes following treatment with whole-vault cranioplasty or endoscopic strip craniectomy. This study provides the first comparative analysis examining the effects of the two techniques related to long-term intellectual functioning.
METHODS: A total of 70 patients were enrolled in this multicenter study, 29 of whom had previously undergone endoscopic strip craniectomy and 41 of whom had previously undergone whole-vault cranioplasty. All patients completed a battery of neurodevelopmental tests (Beery-Buktenica Developmental Test of Visual-Motor Integration, Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence, and Wechsler Fundamentals) to evaluate various domains of neuropsychological function.
RESULTS: In a group comparison of those treated before 6 months of age, whole-vault patients obtained higher scores relative to endoscopic strip craniectomy patients on visuomotor integration, full-scale intelligence quotient, verbal intelligence quotient, word reading, and reading comprehension (p < 0.05 for all). When compared against strip craniectomy performed before 3 months of age, the whole-vault group still showed significantly higher scores in verbal intelligence quotient, reading comprehension, and word reading (p < 0.05 for all).
CONCLUSIONS: The type of surgical intervention for isolated sagittal synostosis impacts long-term neuropsychological outcomes. Patients undergoing early whole-vault cranioplasty attained higher intelligence quotient and achievement scores relative to those undergoing strip craniectomy. Surgical management with whole-vault cranioplasty performed before 6 months of age provides the most favorable long-term intellectual outcomes in patients with isolated sagittal synostosis.
CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapeutic, II.
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