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Cleft Palate Craniofac J. 2002 Jan;39(1):73-80.

Ultrasound diagnosis of craniosynostosis.

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Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.



To retrospectively study prenatal ultrasound images of patients with craniosynostosis to determine the extent to which prenatal diagnosis is possible.


Prenatal ultrasound images of 19 patients with postnatally diagnosed metopic or coronal suture craniosynostosis were retrospectively reviewed. The 26 ultrasound examinations obtained were compared with normal images and tables of gestation.


It was not possible to diagnose craniosynostosis in the first trimester. In the second trimester, Kleeblattschädel was diagnosed at 20.5 weeks. A multilobular shape to the skull and diastasis of the frontotemporal suture was identified. In a second child with Kleeblattschädel, the cephalic index was above normal 86.4 (normal range 70 to 86), and the head circumference to abdominal circumference was increased. In the third trimester, the head shape deformation was more obvious. Brachycephaly diagnosis was made in the second trimester. In Crouzon syndrome the hypertelorism was identified at 19.9 weeks. Plagiocephaly was diagnosed at 21.4 weeks. In trigonocephaly the reduced cephalic index was noted at 18.8 weeks. In the third trimester, the deformity was diagnosed in all cases.


No diagnosis of craniosynostosis was made in the first trimester. In the second trimester, it was possible to diagnose Kleeblattschädel, trigonocephaly, brachycephaly (bilateral coronal suture craniosynostosis), and plagiocephaly (unilateral coronal suture craniosynostosis) in nine of the examinations. In the third trimester and at term, it was possible to diagnose previously listed conditions from six of the seven examinations obtained. Kleeblattschädel was suspected during original examination. A total of 15 examinations of 26 were correctly diagnosed during this investigation.

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