Three-dimensional analysis of craniofacial form in a familial rabbit model of nonsyndromic coronal suture synostosis using Euclidean distance matrix analysis

Annie M. Burrows, Joan T. Richtsmeier, Mark P. Mooney, Tim D. Smith, H. Wolfgang Losken, Michael I. Siegel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Objective: Simple craniosynostoses produce predictable morphologies of the cranial vault, with growth deficits in a direction parallel to the synostosed suture and compensatory growth at sutures that are perpendicular to and attached to the synostosed one. In coronal suture synostosis, anteroposterior growth is inhibited, with compensatory growth in a transverse direction. Information on growth patterns and influence on other craniofacial regions are not as clear. This study tested the hypotheses that (1), both juvenile and adult rabbits with familial, nonsyndromic coronal suture synostosis exhibit significant size and shape differences of the entire craniofacial region relative to normal rabbits as a result of altered growth patterns and that (2), shape differences of the calvaria will precede those of the basicranium. Design: Fifty anatomic landmarks were located on 94 New Zealand white rabbit crania. The crania were divided into a juvenile, six- week-old age category (n = 53) and an adult, 18-week-old category (n = 41) in order to assess shape differences at different ages. Each age category was sorted into three groups based on growth at the coronal suture: normal sutural growth, delayed onset synostosis, and complete synostosis. Landmarks were digitized in three-dimensions, and statistical analyses on shape differences were carried out using Euclidean distance matrix analysis (EDMA). Results and conclusions: Results showed that delayed onset synostosis did not produce craniofacial morphology that was different from normal at any age. However, complete synostosis yielded predictable and global craniofacial shape differences at both ages relative to normal skulls, producing an overall shorter, wider cranium with the most markedly compensating regions in a posterosuperior position of the skull. In addition, delayed onset synostosed crania showed no shape differences in the basicranium, relative to normal crania, suggesting primacy of the calvaria in this model of coronal synostosis. However, further investigations are necessary to verify primacy of the calvaria in this model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)196-206
Number of pages11
JournalCleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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