Appropriateness of Computed Tomography Scanning in the Diagnosis of Craniosynostosis

Ilana G. Margulies, Francis Graziano, Pedram Goel, Hope Xu, Anthony H. Bui, Stav Brown, Paymon Sanati-Mehrizy, Peter F. Morgenstern, Mark M. Urata, Peter J. Taub

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Introduction: Although physicians from a variety of specialties encounter infants with possible craniosynostosis, judicious use of computed tomography (CT) imaging is important to avoid unnecessary radiation exposure and healthcare expense. The present study seeks to determine whether differences in specialty of ordering physician affects frequency of resulting diagnostic confirmations requiring operative intervention. Methods: Radiology databases from 2 institutions were queried for CT reports or indications that included ‘‘craniosynostosis’’ or ‘‘plagiocephaly.’’ Patient demographics, specialty of ordering physician, confirmed diagnosis, and operative interventions were recorded. Cost analysis was performed using the fixed unit cost for a head CT to calculate the expense before 1 study led to operative intervention. Results: Three hundred eighty-two patients were included. 184 (48.2%) CT scans were ordered by craniofacial surgeons, 71 (18.6%) were ordered by neurosurgeons, and 127 (33.3%) were ordered by pediatricians. One hundred four (27.2%) patients received a diagnosis of craniosynostosis requiring operative intervention. Craniofacial surgeons and neurosurgeons were more likely than pediatricians to order CT scans that resulted in a diagnosis of craniosynostosis requiring operative intervention (P < 0.001), with no difference between craniofacial surgeons and neurosurgeons (P ¼ 1.0). The estimated cost of obtaining an impact CT scan when ordered by neurosurgeons or craniofacial surgeons as compared to pediatricians was $2369.69 versus $13,493.75. Conclusions: Clinicians who more frequently encounter craniosynostosis (craniofacial and neurosurgeons) had a higher likelihood of ordering CT images that resulted in a diagnosis of craniosynostosis requiring operative intervention. This study should prompt multi-disciplinary interventions aimed at improving evaluation of pretest probability before CT imaging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)222-225
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Craniofacial Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • CT
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Craniofacial surgery
  • Craniosynostosis
  • Neurosurgery
  • Radiation


Dive into the research topics of 'Appropriateness of Computed Tomography Scanning in the Diagnosis of Craniosynostosis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this