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Lacrimal Obstruction in Craniosynostosis: Anatomical and Genetic Risk Factors.

PURPOSE: To investigate whether patients with craniosynostosis exhibit higher rates of nasolacrimal duct obstruction (NLDO) and to explore potential risk factors.

METHODS: Retrospective review including all craniosynostosis patients treated at both the Divisions of Ophthalmology and Plastic, Reconstructive, and Oral Surgery at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia between 2009 and 2020 was conducted. Synostosis characteristics, lacrimal disorders, and genetic data were collected. Main outcome measures were the rate of NLDO and associations with anatomical and syndromic/genetic risk factors.

RESULTS: The total of 767 participants had a mean age of 2.8 ± 3.8 years, 465 (60.6%) were males, 485 (63.2%) had no syndromic association; 631 (82.3%) had one major suture involved, 128 (17%) had involvement of 2 to 4 major sutures, and 429 (55.9%) underwent craniofacial surgery. Forty-eight (6.2%) patients had NLDO, which more prevalent in the genetic/syndromic group (11.0% vs. 3.5%, respectively, p < 0.001), with the highest prevalence observed in patients with Apert syndrome (n = 4, 30.8%). The genetic variants most associated with NLDO were EFNB1 (n = 1, 100%) and FGFR2 (n = 6, 19.4%). There was no association between NLDO and the number or types of sutures involved or a history of craniofacial surgery.

CONCLUSIONS: Nasolacrimal duct obstruction is more common in patients with craniosynostosis compared to the general population. Having a putative syndrome or a putative genetic variant and female sex were risk factors for NLDO. Ophthalmic evaluations for all craniosynostosis patients and careful assessments of any symptoms of tearing are recommended.

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