Due to the individual personalised approach to treatment in each case we couldn’t do justice to general timelines for craniofacial anomalies. Trying to cover even each of the different, relatively common recognised conditions would be impossible.
Very basically, surgery is divided into operations needed to allow the brain to expand (the neurocranium) or the face to grow and develop properly (the viscerocranium).
The first requires surgery under age of 6 months, the latter at various stages of facial growth and development. The idea of very early surgery is to avoid compression of the developing brain where the plates of bone are not able to grow at the cranial suture lines. This surgery is less complex in the mechanical sense of the word but is carried out on very young children requiring the expertise found in specialised craniofacial teams.
- Short term: the recovery from surgery itself is usually quick.
- Medium term: it is usually quite obvious that the bone plates that make up the skull are growing around the developing brain and forming into a conventional skull shape.
- Long term: in craniosynostosis syndromes only there may be essentially no long-term issues as the problem has been resolved. If the craniofacial sutures have been involved, then a sequence of interventions based on the effects of no growth taking place at those sutures becomes the consideration for the facial component of craniofacial surgery.