The effects on skull growth of plating the coronal suture and frontal bone were studied in New Zealand White rabbits. Three-dimensional coordinate landmarks were digitized and analyzed to determine the differences in form between operated and unoperated animals using Euclidian distance matrix analysis. This method compares sets of interlandmark distances in three dimensions and was used to demonstrate changes induced by plating. We interpret these changes in morphology to be the result of differences in growth between the operated and unoperated groups. Periosteal elevation alone (n = 6) resulted in a minimal local growth increase. Coronal suture plating (n = 8) resulted in local growth restriction with contralateral and adjacent size increases. Frontal bone plating (n = 6) without crossing a suture line also resulted in local growth restriction and adjacent bone size increases. The timing of intervention in relation to the completion of bone growth may explain the magnitude of clinically apparent effects. Changes in bones adjacent to those directly manipulated may be an attempt to maintain a normal skull volume.
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