The aesthetic outcome of surgical correction for sagittal synostosis can be reliably scored by a novel method of preoperative and postoperative visual assessment.

Authors:
Charlotte L Bendon
Charlotte L Bendon
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust
United Kingdom
Andrew D Judge
Andrew D Judge
University of Oxford
United Kingdom
Steven A Wall
Steven A Wall
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust
Oxford | United Kingdom
David Johnson
David Johnson
Princess Alexandra Hospital
Woolloongabba | Australia

Plast Reconstr Surg 2014 Nov;134(5):775e-786e

Oxford and Southampton, United Kingdom From the Oxford Craniofacial Unit, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust; the Oxford National Institute for Health and Research Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Unit, Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences, University of Oxford; and the MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital.

Background: Aims of surgical correction for isolated sagittal synostosis are functional and aesthetic. Multiple surgical techniques exist; however, reliable assessment of aesthetic outcome is poorly documented, limiting direct comparisons. The pinched appearance of the temporal regions is particularly challenging to correct. A visual analogue scale was designed to grade skull shape in patients who had total or subtotal calvarial remodeling for isolated sagittal synostosis.

Methods: Twenty-two assessors graded preoperative and postoperative photographs from 42 consecutive cases of sagittal synostosis under a single surgeon. Five aspects were graded (i.e., narrow elongated skull, frontal bossing, temporal pinching, occipital bullet, and overall shape) from 0 (normal) to 100 (severe). Interobserver and intraobserver agreement were analyzed by calculating within-subject standard deviation, coefficient of variation, and intraclass correlation coefficient. Linear regression analysis determined predictors of outcome.

Results: Surgery improved outcome dramatically across all five aspects of skull shape, with a 72.6 to 76.4 percent decrease in severity score. Improvements in severity score were greater after total calvarial remodeling, and type of calvarial remodeling (total versus subtotal) was an independent predictor of outcome in all aspects of skull shape (p≤0.001). Temporal pinching was improved in a subset of patients who also had onlay bone grafts in this region.

Conclusions: Calvarial remodeling is a powerful technique for improving skull shape. A panel can detect gross and subtle aesthetic changes after surgical correction of sagittal synostosis using a visual analogue scale, with moderate interobserver and intraobserver agreement. This provides a tool for future outcome assessment.

Clinical Question/level Of Evidence: Therapeutic, IV.

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November 2014
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