Surgical management of sagittal synostosis: A comparative analysis of strip craniectomy and calvarial vault remodeling

Todd A. Mangans, J. Gordon Mc Comb, Michael L. Levy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Although surgical treatment of sagittal synostosis has become normative, the procedure of choice is still debated. This retrospective analysis, during a 10-year period (1986-1995) at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, compares the more conservative strip craniectomy (SC) procedure with a more extensive occipital reduction-biparietal widening calvarial vault remodeling (CVR) technique for the management of sagittal synostosis. SC was performed in 72 patients (61%) and CVR in 46 (39%). Patients undergoing CVR were older (mean 5.3 vs. 3.0 months, p < 0.01), the procedure time longer (mean 126 min vs. 72 min, p < 0.01), intraoperative blood loss greater (mean 243 vs. 54 cm3, p < 0.01), and the frequency of intraoperative blood transfusion increased (100 vs. 38%, p < 0.01; mean volume 357 vs. 51 cm3, p < 0.01) compared to patients undergoing SC. No significant intraoperative complications occurred in either group. The total time of hospitalization was similar (mean 4.4 vs. 3.8 days, p = 0.02). No neurological, hematological, or transfusion-related complications or deaths were encountered in either group. Cosmetic outcomes were significantly better in the CVR group with 79% rated as excellent compared to 41% in the SC group (p < 0.01). Fifty-nine percent of the SC patients manifested bony defects at last follow-up visit. Two SC patients required reopera-tion for poor cosmetic outcomes; CVR was successfully employed in both cases. These findings demonstrate that CVR is superior to SC in providing immediate and lasting correction of calvarial deformities secondary to sagittal synostosis. The optimal age at time of surgery is < 6 months; however, CVR can be utilized throughout infancy, while SC becomes progressively less effective after 6 months of age. No significant complications were observed in either group, despite the increased operative manipulation and greater incidence of blood transfusion in the CVR patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-148
Number of pages12
JournalPediatric Neurosurgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Calvarial vault remodeling
  • Cosmetic outcomes
  • Craniosynostosis
  • Sagittal synostosis
  • Strip craniectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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