The cranial vault is not a single bone. It is made up of a number of separate bones, which come together at the cranial sutures. In craniosynostosis, these sutures are prematurely fused. This causes a restriction in growth of the skull, leading to characteristic head shape abnormalities.

Most cases of craniosynostosis involve only a single suture and no specific cause is found. In a number of cases, a genetic cause can be found and in some cases, the craniosynostosis is associated with a syndrome.

Single suture craniosynostosis

Synostosis syndromes

  • Apert syndrome
  • Crouzon syndrome
  • Pfeiffer syndrome
  • Muenke syndrome
  • Saethre Chotzen syndrome


The Australian Craniofacial Unit manages these conditions in a coordinated, multidisciplinary, patient-centred way, based on established protocols to ensure consistent best practice.