To define better the pathophysiology of craniosynostosis, we developed an in utero model in rabbits. Premature fusion of the sutures was achieved by osteoinduction using demineralized bone matrix (DBM). Thirty-six fetuses from 18 time-dated pregnant rabbits underwent coronal strip craniectomies and implantation of DBM at 25 days of gestation (term = 31 days). Seventeen (47%) survived vaginal delivery and 10 (28%) survived for long-term follow-up. Surviving, operated animals demonstrated bony fusion across the coronal sutures presumably due to osteoinduction by the DBM. Coronal computed tomographic scans with sagittal reconstructions revealed that experimental animals had taller and wider skulls than nonoperated control animals. We conclude that employing DBM to create craniosynostosis in the fetal rabbit is technically feasible. Such a model may be used to more clearly define the pathophysiology of craniosynostosis and to evaluate methods of treatment.
View details for PubMedID 1290786