Craniofacial Surgery and Recovery
In infants, the head and brain grow relatively fast, meaning that surgery may be required at a young age. Surgery can help provide room for your baby’s growing brain, as well as help shape facial and skull bone.
The purpose of surgery is to relieve any pressure on the brain and make sure there is sufficient room in the skull for the brain or other facial bones to grow properly. In addition, surgery improves the appearance of the child’s head.
If craniofacial conditions show from birth or up to three months, minimally invasive surgery may be possible, such as endoscopic techniques. These approaches typically have fewer risks and complications than open surgery, and recovery is also faster.
These minimal surgical approaches may be followed with helmet therapy. As your child grows, a special helmet can guide the skull bones into position to help them fuse better.
Craniofacial Surgical Procedures
Craniofacial surgery is a subspecialty that involves the reconstructive treatment of disorders of the face and skull, such as congenital anomalies and post-traumatic injuries. Craniofacial surgery is performed by highly trained surgeons who are supported by an expert, skilled team of healthcare professionals.
The team approach includes the integration of other specialists into the craniofacial team, including some of the below specialists, among others:
- plastic surgeons
- oral surgeons
- pediatric intensivists.
Recovery After Craniofacial Surgery
Your child’s progress will determine the length of their hospital stay and recovery time; for example, a child may stay an average of 4 to 7 days after craniosynostosis surgery.
Good recovery signs after craniofacial surgery include:
- your child is able to take his/her meals
- there is no sign of infection
- some of the swelling around the eyes has gone down enough to open at least one eye.
With good signs of recovery, your child will be able to go home.
As your child grows, the skull bones continuously remodel according to natural forces. As a result, the screws used to stabilize the mobilized segment end up buried in the skull or even in the intracranial cavity. Postoperative CT scan images are particularly helpful for monitoring this situation.