Spring-Assisted Cranial Expansion

What is Spring-Assisted Cranial Expansion?

Spring-assisted cranial expansion is most commonly used to treat sagittal suture craniosynostosis, however it may be used to treat other closed sutures as well. The ideal age for this procedure is age 3-6 months. It is best used at younger ages when the bones in the head are soft and the scalp is thin allowing more effective reshaping of the skull bones.

During spring-assisted cranial expansion the surgeon removes the closed suture along with a thin strip of adjacent bone. Then, the surgeon places two to three springs near the edges. In this surgery, the expansion of the spring encourages a crossways expansion of the skull. Unlike extended strip with postoperative helmet, this surgery requires a second operation for removal of the springs. The springs are removed two to three months after placement.

What are the benefits of Spring-Assisted Cranial Expansion?

The benefits of this procedure when compared to open cranial vault procedures include:

  • Less scarring in the scalp
  • Less blood loss and risk for blood transfusion
  • Shorter hospital stay