Pediatric Craniofacial Surgery

Craniofacial disorders are abnormalities of the face or head, caused by a birth defect, disease or trauma.

Craniofacial surgery treats conditions that affect the bones and soft tissues of the face and head and small areas of an infant or child’s body, and can affect how a child sees, hears, breathes, chews, swallows, and in some cases how their brain grows.

In the majority of cases, craniofacial surgeries are performed on infants and children who were born with or later develop skull or facial abnormalities.

Surgery may also be performed on someone who has sustained a traumatic injury in an accident or has a non-congenital condition like a tumor or blood vessel developmental abnormalities.

Craniofacial surgery techniques may be used to treat urgent, life-threatening conditions as well as important “quality of life” reconstructive procedures.

Procedures Include

Craniosynostosis is a birth defect in which the bones in a baby’s skull join together too early. This happens before the baby’s brain is fully formed. As the baby’s brain grows, the skull can become more misshapen. The spaces between a typical baby’s skull bones are filled with flexible material and called sutures. These sutures allow the skull to grow as the baby’s brain grows. Around two years of age, a child’s skull bones begin to join together because the sutures become bone. When this occurs, the suture is said to “close.” In a baby with craniosynostosis, one or more of the sutures closes too early. This can limit or slow the growth of the baby’s brain. Repair usually involves a Craniofacial Surgeon and Neurosurgeon that work together.

Fronto-Facial Advancement, Monobloc fronto-facial advancement surgery moves the bones of the forehead and middle of the face (midface) forward, and opens the closed joints (sutures) at the front of your child’s skull. The surgery gives more space for a child’s growing brain.

Genioplasty (Chin Augmentation) surgery can change the size, projection and position of the chin to achieve better facial balance. Whether your chin is too long, too short, too prominent or not prominent enough, your chin can be altered to balance the rest of your face. The two types of genioplasty include either modifying your own jaw bone or using facial implants. When your dental occlusion or teeth do not come together properly, orthognathic jaw surgery may also be necessary, and often used in adult and pediatric Craniofacial surgery procedures.

Mandibular & Maxillary Distraction –These types of surgeries are used to slowly move the face in a certain direction, usually forward. They rely on making cuts in the bone and placing devices, known as distractors, on the bone segments. The distractors are turned daily to twice daily to move the bone forward. One advantage of this technique is that the soft tissues over the bone are stretched slowly over time. If the soft tissues are right, or the amount of movement that needs to occur is large, then distraction is often a better option as compared to a single surgery that moves the bones forward.