Babies are born without their skull fully hardened and formed. This allows the brain to grow as the child grows. The skull does not begin to fully harden until a child reaches about two years old. If the skull begins to harden when a baby is a newborn, they may have a condition called craniosynostosis. This is a condition that affects an estimated one in 1,800 to 3,000 children, with boys being more likely to suffer from this condition. If you are a new parent, you may want to familiarize yourself with the signs of this condition. Here are the most common signs associated with craniosynostosis in a newborn.
A Misshaped Head
One of the signs of craniosynostosis is a misshaped head. There are different parts of the skull, with each part being referred to as a suture. In most cases of craniosynostosis, only one suture begins to close off, instead of the entire skull. This leaves the head of an infant looking misshaped, rather than round or oval. If you notice that something looks off with the shape of your baby's head, you should make an appointment with a pediatrician.
No Soft Spot or a Reduction in the Size of Soft Spot
One of the tell-tale signs of craniosynostosis is the reduction in the size of the soft spot, or a baby not having a soft spot at all. The soft spot is the portion of the skull that has not yet hardened. It is soft to all for brain growth. Craniosynostosis causes the skull to harden, which reduces the size of that soft spot or eliminates it all together, depending on what sutures of the skull are hardening.
A Lack of Head Growth
The final common sign of craniosynostosis in a newborn is a lack of head growth. Your infant's head should be growing. If your baby's body is growing, but the head is not, something is wrong. Craniosynostosis can prevent the brain from growing as it should, which is why you may notice the head not growing. A doctor will measure the circumference of your child's head and confirm whether or not there is a lack of head growth based on the circumference at all subsequent appointments.
If you notice any of these signs, you should make an appointment with your child's pediatrician right away. Craniosynostosis can prevent the brain from properly growing, so you want to seek treatment as quickly as possible. A pediatrician will not be able to treat this condition, but they can confirm whether something may be amiss and provide you with a referral to a pediatric neurologist for diagnosis and treatment.