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J Craniofac Surg. 2013 Jan;24(1):317-20. doi: 10.1097/SCS.0b013e318275edee.

Identification of normal cranial sutures in infants on routine magnetic resonance imaging.

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Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.


There are increasing concerns relating to the ionizing effects of computed tomography imaging in infants with benign conditions. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a potential alternative to ionizing radiation when determining patency of the cranial sutures; however, there is no documentation in the literature on the appearance of normal cranial sutures in infants on MRI. This study reviews the appearance of the cranial sutures, their widths, and accuracy of identification in the first year of life on MRI.The coronal, sagittal, and lambdoid sutures were evaluated by 5 assessors on 100 anonymized MRI scans in infants aged 1 to 361 days. The sutures were scored on a 3-point scale. The MRI sequences investigated were axial T1, axial T2, coronal fluid attenuated inversion recovery, axial short tau inversion recovery, and sagittal T1. The suture widths were measured in those cases where they were clearly identifiable, and agreement was obtained in the first aspect of the study (n = 38).A κ score of 0.6 was obtained for interrater agreement. An increasing total score for all sutures with advancing age was found (P < 0.05). The mean suture widths for the coronal, sagittal, and lambdoid sutures were 1.2 (SD, 0.4), 1.4 (SD, 0.4), and 1.3 (SD, 0.3) mm, respectively. There was no significant difference in suture width with age.The appearance of cranial sutures on MRI is as an area of signal void, which may be difficult to clearly define, thus making it unreliable as a standard investigation in the diagnosis of craniosynostosis.

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