The Significance of Squamosal Suture Synostosis

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The squamosal suture is one of the lateral minor skull sutures, separating the parietal and squamous temporal bones. While the phenotypic appearances and sequelae of synostosis of the major cranial vault sutures are well documented, little is reported concerning synostosis of the squamosal suture (SQS). The aim of this study was to determine the frequency of squamosal suture synostosis, and to document the significance of this entity.

A retrospective review of the diagnostic imaging for all new pediatric patients (aged ≤16 years) referred to the Oxford Craniofacial Unit between January 2008 and February 2013 was completed to identify patients with SQS. Computed tomography (CT) imaging was available in 422 patients and the axial and three-dimensional reconstructed images reviewed.

Squamosal suture synostosis was confirmed in 38 patients (9%). It was present in conjunction with major suture synostosis in 33 patients and in isolation in 5. The incidence increased with age. It was more common in patients with syndromic craniosynostosis (18%) and associated syndromic conditions (36%) than in those with isolated major suture synostosis (6%). It was found to occur with coronal, lambdoid, and sagittal synostosis, but was most frequent with multisuture fusion patterns. Squamosal suture synostosis was not associated with a consistent calvarial deformity either in isolation or when associated with a major suture fusion. No patient underwent surgery specifically to correct SQS.

In conclusion, contrary to previous reports, squamosal suture synostosis is a relatively frequent finding in the general case mix of a typical craniofacial unit, but is of limited clinical significance.

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