A prospective study of the relationship between strabismus and head posture in patients with frontal plagiocephaly

Arun K. Gosain, Mark A. Steele, Joseph G. McCarthy*, Charles H. Thorne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


A prospective study was performed on 16 unoperated patients with frontal plagiocephaly to characterize the relationship between strabismus and abnormal head posture. Serial eye examinations were performed preoperatively and for 24 to 46 months following fronto-orbital advancement. In 14 patients (88 percent), preoperative clinical examination and CT scan indicated coronal plagiocephaly (synostotic); unicoronal synostosis was documented during fronto-orbital advancement in all these patients. Ten patients had abnormal head posture on preoperative examination, 9 of whom had strabismus at some time during the study. These 9 patients all had unicoronal synostosis with ipsilateral strabismus and a contralateral head tilt. All had eye muscle findings consistent with superior oblique paresis, although in 2 patients these signs first developed following fronto-orbital advancement. Strabismus resolved spontaneously in 2 patients between 2 and 8 months following fronto- orbital advancement; the remaining 7 patients underwent extraocular muscle surgery following fronto-orbital advancement, with early resolution of strabismus in all cases. The head tilt resolved or improved significantly in all 9 patients following resolution of the strabismus. Two patients had recurrent superior oblique paresis following surgical correction, necessitating secondary strabismus surgery. The present study indicates that extraocular muscle dysfunction is the major cause of abnormal head posture in patients with coronal plagiocephaly and emphasizes the need for long-term ophthalmologic surveillance in these patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)881-891
Number of pages11
JournalPlastic and reconstructive surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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