Spring-assisted cranioplasty is performed to correct the long and narrow head shape of children with sagittal synostosis. Such corrective surgery involves osteotomies and the placement of spring-like distractors, which gradually expand to widen the skull until removal about 4 months later. Due to its dynamic nature, associations between surgical parameters and post-operative 3D head shape features are difficult to comprehend. The current study aimed at applying population-based statistical shape modelling to gain insight into how the choice of surgical parameters such as craniotomy size and spring positioning affects post-surgical head shape.
Twenty consecutive patients with sagittal synostosis who underwent spring-assisted cranioplasty at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children (London, UK) were prospectively recruited. Using a nonparametric statistical modelling technique based on mathematical currents, a 3D head shape template was computed from surface head scans of sagittal patients after spring removal. Partial least squares (PLS) regression was employed to quantify and visualise trends of localised head shape changes associated with the surgical parameters recorded during spring insertion: anterior-posterior and lateral craniotomy dimensions, anterior spring position and distance between anterior and posterior springs.
Bivariate correlations between surgical parameters and corresponding PLS shape vectors demonstrated that anterior-posterior (Pearson's ) and lateral