Normative ranges of anthropometric cranial indices and metopic suture closure during infancy

Jonathan Pindrik, Joseph Molenda, Rafael Uribe-Cardenas, Amir H. Dorafshar, Edward S. Ahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: Subjective evaluations typically guide craniosynostosis repair. This study provides normative values of anthropometric cranial indices that are clinically useful for the evaluation of multiple types of craniosynostosis and introduces 2 new indices that are useful in the evaluation and management of metopic and bicoronal synostosis. The authors hypothesize that normative values of the new indices as well as for established measures like the cephalic index can be drawn from the evaluation of CT scans of normal individuals. METHODS: High-resolution 3D CT scans obtained in normal infants (age 0-24 months) were retrospectively reviewed. Calvarial measurements obtained from advanced imaging visualization software were used to compute cranial indices. Additionally, metopic sutures were evaluated for patency or closure. RESULTS: A total of 312 participants were included in the study. Each monthly age group (total 24) included 12-18 patients, yielding 324 head CT scans studied. The mean cephalic index decreased from 0.85 at age 0-3 months to 0.81 at 19-24 months, the mean frontoparietal index decreased from 0.68 to 0.65, the metopic index from 0.59 to 0.55, and the towering index remained comparatively uniform at 0.64 and 0.65. Trends were statistically significant for all measured indices. There were no significant differences found in mean cranial indices between sexes in any age group. Metopic suture closure frequency for ages 3, 6, and 9 months were 38.5%, 69.2%, and 100.0%, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Radiographically acquired normative values for anthropometric cranial indices during infancy can be used as standards for guiding preoperative decision making, surgical correction, and postoperative helmeting in various forms of craniosynostosis. Metopic and towering indices represent new cranial indices that are potentially useful for the clinical evaluation of metopic and bicoronal synostoses, respectively. The present study additionally shows that metopic suture closure appears ubiquitous after 9 months of age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)667-673
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2016


  • Cephalic index
  • Craniofacial
  • Craniometric indices
  • Craniosynostosis
  • Metopic index
  • Metopic synostosis
  • Towering index

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Normative ranges of anthropometric cranial indices and metopic suture closure during infancy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this