While spring-assisted cranioplasty has become a widespread technique to correct scaphocephaly in children with sagittal synostosis, predicting head shape changes induced by the gradual opening of the springs remains challenging. This study aimed to explore the role of cranial bone structure on surgical outcomes
Patients with isolated sagittal synostosis undergoing spring-assisted cranioplasty at GOSH (London, UK) were recruited (n = 18, age: 3¿8 months). Surgical outcome was assessed by the change in cephalic index measured on 3D head scans acquired before spring insertion and after their removal using a 3D handheld scanner. Parietal bone samples routinely discarded during spring-assisted cranioplasty were collected and scanned using micro-computed tomography. From visual assessment of such scans, bone structure was classified into one- or three-layered, the latter indicating the existence of a diploë cavity. Bone average thickness, volume fraction and surface density were computed and correlated with changes in cephalic index.
Cephalic index increased for all patients (p < 0.001), but individual improvement varied. Although the patient age and treatment duration were not significantly correlated with changes in cephalic index, bone structural parameters were. The increase of cephalic index was smaller with increasing bone thickness (Pearson's r = ¿0.79, p < 0.001) and decreasing bone surface density (r = 0.77, p < 0.001), associated with the three-