What is the diagnosis?
The diagnosis begins with an examination by a pediatrician, pediatric
neurosurgeon or craniofacial surgeon. A primary objective of the examination
is to rule out craniosynostosis (a condition that requires surgical correction).
The initial examination involves questions about gestation and birth,
in utero position, neck tightness and post-natal positioning (for example,
sleeping position). The physical examination includes inspection of the
infant's head and may involve palpation (carefully feeling) of the child's
skull for suture ridges and soft spots (the fontanelles) as well as checking
for neck tightness and other deformities. The physician may also request
x-rays or computerized tomography (a CAT scan, a series of photographic
images of the skull). These images provide the most reliable method for
diagnosing premature suture fusion (craniosynostosis). In addition, the
physician may make (or order) a series of measurements from the child's
face and head [more on cranial anthropometry]. These measurements will
be used to assess severity and monitor treatment.