Central nervous system and cervical spine abnormalities in Apert syndrome

Omar Breik*, Antony Mahindu, Mark H. Moore, Cindy J. Molloy, Stephen Santoreneos, David J. David

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Apert syndrome characterized by acrocephalosyndactyly is a rare autosomal dominant congenital malformation with a prevalence of 1/65,000 births. With an extensive range of phenotypic and developmental manifestations, its management requires a multidisciplinary approach. A variety of craniofacial, central nervous system (CNS), and cervical spine abnormalities have been reported in these patients. This study aimed to determine the incidence of these CNS abnormalities in our case series. Methods: Retrospective review of Australian Craniofacial Unit (ACFU) database for Apert patients was performed. Data collected that included demographics, place of origin, age at presentation, imaging performed, and images were reviewed and recorded. Where available, developmental data was also recorded. Results: Ninety-four patients seen and managed at the ACFU had their CNS and cervical spine abnormalities documented. The main CNS abnormalities were prominent convolutional markings (67 %), ventriculomegaly (48 %), crowded foramen magnum (36 %), deficient septum pellucidum (13 %), and corpus callosum agenesis in 11 %. Major C-spine findings were present in 50.8 % of patients and included fusion of posterior elements of C5/C6 (50 %) and C3/4 (27 %). Multilevel fusion was seen in 20 %. Other abnormalities were C1 spina bifida occulta (7 %) and atlanto-axial subluxation (7 %). Conclusion: Multiple CNS and cervical spine (c-spine) abnormalities are common in Apert syndrome. The significance of these abnormalities remains largely unknown. Further research is needed to better understand the impact of these findings on growth, development, and treatment outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)833-838
Number of pages6
JournalChild's Nervous System
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Abnormalities
  • Apert syndrome
  • Cervical spine
  • CNS
  • Craniosynostosis


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