A craniofacial anomaly is an abnormality of the head and/or facial bones that is present at birth. While some anomalies are rather mild, others can be very serious. The Craniofacial Anomalies Program at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital is one of the largest practices of its type in the country and the largest program in Michigan. Each member of our team specializes in craniofacial anomalies. Having an understanding of the distinctive aspects of these conditions and the underlying abnormalities makes us uniquely prepared to not just treat the physical symptoms, but the entire condition.
Our multidisciplinary program combines the efforts of plastic surgeons, neurosurgeons, ophthalmologists, dentists and orthodontists, genetic counselors, speech pathologists, psychologists and social workers to evaluate, diagnose and comprehensively treat your child’s unique physical and emotional needs, keeping the needs of the family in mind, as well. This allows us to meet all your child’s needs related to his or her condition, including feeding, growth, hearing, breathing, vision and dental.
We treat the full scope of craniofacial anomalies, including:
- Positional head deformities / positional plagiocephaly - A change in head shape caused by external pressure on the skull
- Craniosynostosis, including Saethre-Chotzen, Apert and Crouzon syndromes – Conditions in which one or more of the fibrous sutures in an infant skull prematurely fuses, restricting skull and brain growth
- Cleft lip and cleft palate – Conditions caused when the tissues of the lip and/or palate of the fetus do not fuse very early in pregnancy
- Hemifacial microsomia - A condition with underdevelopment of the ears and jaws
- Treacher Collins syndrome - A rare, inherited, congenital craniofacial condition that affects the bones, jaws, skin and muscles of the face
We treat more than 500 patients with craniofacial anomalies each year. Our multidisciplinary teams of surgeons coordinate and perform major reconstructive procedures to reshape the skull, allow for proper brain growth and/or restore a more typical cosmetic appearance. Minimally invasive therapies are also available for certain conditions. We utilize the latest techniques to decrease the number of procedures your child must undergo.
In addition to providing world-class care, we also are a destination for training for individuals specializing in craniofacial anomalies.
Improving Care for the Future
Deformations of the face and skull are among the world’s most common birth defects. In fact, more than 130,000 children worldwide will be born this year with clefts of the lip and palate alone. While pediatric plastic surgery has made huge strides in developing treatments and procedures to successfully correct a number of these conditions, there is still an urgent need to identify strategies to repair many of the most debilitating defects.
Every day, our researchers strive to find new procedures and discover new information to improve outcomes for kids with craniofacial anomalies. We are currently leading a number of studies to advance the treatment of craniofacial deformities, including:
- Creating new bones – developing revolutionary strategies to stimulate growth in the child’s own bones, eliminating the need for bone grafts (using bone from other parts of the body – resources that can be depleted with multiple surgeries)
- Improving craniofacial surgery outcomes – conducting the first-ever outcomes research on corrective therapies for cleft lips and palates to identify opportunities to advance surgical techniques that will ensure optimal end results for patients, improve overall patient care, and uncover new prevention strategies, plus identify which children are more likely to fail initial therapy
- Conducting quality of life studies – monitoring patients’ progress to understand not just the clinical outcomes of their care, but also how treatment affects their quality of life. From functional abilities to behavioral and social development, our research seeks to continuously improve standards of care, allowing for maximum quality of life for these children both during and after treatment.