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Neurosurg Focus. 2011 Aug;31(2):E4. doi: 10.3171/2011.6.FOCUS1193.

Reconstruction of unicoronal plagiocephaly with a hypercorrection surgical technique.

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  • 1Division of Plastic Surgery, University of Michigan Hospitals, Ann Harbor, Michigan, USA.


OBJECT Successful surgical repair of unicoronal plagiocephaly remains a challenge for craniofacial surgeons. Many of the surgical techniques directed at correcting the stigmata associated with this craniofacial deformity (for example, ipsilateral supraorbital rim elevation [vertical dystopia], ipsilateral temporal constriction, C-shaped deformity of the face, and so on) are not long lasting and often result in deficient correction and the need for secondary revision surgery. The authors posit that the cause of this relapse was intrinsic deficiencies of the current surgical techniques. The aim of this study was to determine if correction of unilateral coronal plagiocephaly with a novel hypercorrection surgical technique could prevent the relapse of the characteristics associated with unicoronal plagiocephaly. METHODS The authors performed a retrospective analysis of 40 consecutive patients who underwent surgical repair of unicoronal plagiocephaly at their institution between 1999 and 2009. In all cases, the senior author (S.R.B.) used a hypercorrection technique for surgical reconstruction. Hypercorrection consisted of significant overcorrection of the affected ipsilateral frontal and anterior temporal areas in the sagittal and coronal planes. Demographic, perioperative, and follow-up data were collected for comparison. The postsurgical appearance of the forehead was documented clinically and photographically and then evaluated and scored by 2 independent graders using the expanded Whitaker scoring system. A relapse was defined as a recurrence of preoperative features that required secondary surgical correction. RESULTS The mean age of the patients at the time of the operation was 13 months (range 8-28 months). The mean follow-up duration was 57 months (range 3 months to 9.8 years). The postsurgical hypercorrection appearance persisted on average 6-8 months but gradually dissipated and normalized. No patients exhibited a relapse of unicoronal plagiocephalic characteristics that required surgical correction. In all cases the aesthetic results were excellent. Only 3 patients required reoperation for the management of persistent calvarial bone defects (2 cases) and removal of a symptomatic granuloma (1 case). CONCLUSIONS Our study demonstrates that patients who undergo unicoronal plagiocephaly repair with a hypercorrection surgical technique avoid long-term relapse. Our results suggest that the surgical technique used in the correction of unilateral coronal synostosis is strongly associated with the prevention of postsurgical relapse and that the use of this novel method decreases the need for surgical revision.

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