Muenke syndrome is a genetic condition in which one or more of the seams of the skull fuse too early in prenatal development. It is a form of syndromic craniosynostosis.
Generally characterized by an abnormally shaped head, wide-set eyes and flattened cheek bones, these facial and cranial differences are caused by the premature fusion of the coronal suture, the growth line which goes over the head from ear to ear. If one side is involved, your child may have an asymmetrical shape to the skull.
4-month-old with Muenke Syndrome. Note the temporal bossing (prominence at the temple region), tall head shape and wide-spaced eyes.
The upper face and eyes of patients with Muenke syndrome may be similar to patients with other forms of syndromic craniosynostosis, but they typically do not develop midface hypoplasia or retrusion of the midface requiring surgery. Hand and limb anomalies are also uncommon in this syndrome.
Patients with Muenke syndrome may be at greater risk for elevated intracranial pressure than other syndromes, and hearing loss is much more frequently encountered.
The treatment of Muenke syndrome is dependent upon both functional and appearance-related needs, and should be addressed immediately after your child is born. Because of the complex issues that can be associated with Muenke syndrome, your child should be treated at a medical center where she will have access to pediatric specialists across the many clinical areas she may need.
At The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, coordinated care of patients with Muenke syndrome is typically managed through the Craniofacial Program, working closely with the Center for Pediatric Airway Disorders to address breathing issues, as well as the Pediatric Feeding and Swallowing Center to manage feeding issues. Eye protection or balance issues, such as strabismus, are coordinated through the Division of Ophthalmology.
Because every patient with syndromic craniosynostosis has unique problems, the timing and course of surgical treatment is highly individualized. It is important to see a surgeon with expertise in pediatric plastic and reconstructive surgery who specializes in treating these rare conditions. Learn more about the surgical treatment approach for syndromic craniosynostosis.
As your child grows, she should also have access to psychosocial support services to address any mental, social or psychological issues that accompany these conditions.
Watch our educational video to learn more about the services and treatment options CHOP offers to children with craniofacial conditions such as Muenke syndrome.