The measurement of maximal head circumference is a standard procedure in the examination of childrens’ cranial growth and brain development. The objective of the study was to evaluate the validity of maximal head circumference to cranial volume in the first year of life using a new method which includes ear-to-ear over the head distance and maximal cranial length measurement.
3D surface scans for cranial volume assessment were conducted in this method comparison study of 44 healthy Caucasian children (29 male, 15 female) at the ages of 4 and 12 months.
Cranial volume increased from measurements made at 4 months to 12 months of age by an average of 1174 ± 106 to 1579 ± 79 ml. Maximal cranial circumference increased from 43.4 ± 9 cm to 46.9 ± 7 cm and the ear-to ear measurement increased from 26.3 ± 21 cm to 31.6 ± 18 cm at the same time points. There was a monotone association between maximal head circumference (HC) and increase in volume, yet a backwards inference from maximal circumference to the volume had a predictive value of only 78% (adjusted R2). Including the additional measurement of distance from ear to ear strengthened the ability of the model to predict the true value attained to 90%. The addition of the parameter skull length appeared to be negligible.
The results demonstrate that for a distinct improvement in the evaluation of a physiological cranial volume development, the additional measurement of the ear-to ear distance using a measuring tape is expedient, and, especially for cases with pathological skull changes, such as craniosynostosis, ought to be conducted.
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- Head circumference - a useful single parameter for skull volume development in cranial growth analysis?
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