Surgeon fixing babies says parents are 'powerful' ones

Professor David David with Imogen Locke
Professor David David with Imogen Locke

PROFESSOR David David is the head of the Australian Craniofacial Unit and president of The Australian Craniomaxillofacial Foundation; but it's parents of the children he treats who he calls the "powerful" ones.

"These women are really powerful. They go out on a limb for their kids and find out what is going on," he said.

"Doing this job is extremely gratifying. This is big stuff for people and it is not something to be treated lightly. It is wonderful to get the right results."

Prof David has been doing craniomaxillofacial surgeries on craniosynostosis patients for over 40 years and has 10,000 patients on the books.

The condition sees the fibrous sutures in an infant skull prematurely fuse before the brain has fully formed, thereby changing the growth pattern of the skull.

During the procedure, the shape of the head is corrected by moving the area that is abnormally fused or prematurely fused and reshaping the skull.

You need one specialist centre per every 20 million people to treat the condition - which occurs in one out of every 2000 live births - and as the professor says, they've been doing it for over 40 years.

"Generally speaking you need major specialist centres to deal with (craniosynostosis). This often needs to be done very early on to give room for the brain to grow properly," he said.

"We have such a centre in Adelaide which is one of the only two units in the world that is solely focused on this."

What is it?

Craniosynostosis consists of premature fusion of one or more cranial sutures, often resulting in an abnormal head shape.

The condition may result from a primary defect of ossification (primary craniosynostosis) or, more commonly, from a failure of brain growth (secondary craniosynostosis).

Simple craniosynostosis is a term used when only one suture fuses prematurely.

Complex or compound craniosynostosis is used to describe premature fusion of multiple sutures.

When children with craniosynostosis, usually complex, also display other body deformities, this is termed syndromic craniosynostosis.

Raised intracranial pressure is rare with fusion of a single suture. It can occur in primary craniosynostosis when multiple sutures fuse.

Although the major morbidity is due to the abnormal shape of the skull, intracranial pressure can be elevated in primary. This occurs with a high frequency in multiple-suture synostosis and rarely with single-suture synostosis.

Source (

Topics:  babies craniosynostosis health specialist

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