Pediatric Cleft and Craniofacial Anomalies Center

Roles of the Team

Your child's treatment may involve specialists from a variety of fields. This team approach offers your child the most complete care, focused on his or her unique needs. Following are some of the members of the Cleft and Craniofacial Center team:

  • Plastic/craniofacial surgeon. This plastic surgeon has specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of cleft and skeletal abnormalities of the skull, facial bones, and soft tissue, and works closely with the orthodontist, neurosurgeon, and other specialists to coordinate a surgical plan.
  • Pediatric neurosurgeon. This surgeon specializes in the brain, spinal cord, and nerves, with specific training in the treatment of children. The pediatric neurosurgeon may help to diagnose and treat craniosynostosis, and works with the craniofacial surgeon in cases where large portions of the facial skeleton must be repositioned.
  • Pediatrician. Your child's pediatrician will also be an integral part of the overall treatment plan.
  • Pediatric dentist. The pediatric dentist specializes not only in general care of the teeth and gums, but will also (in the case of cleft palate and cleft lip) function as a structural engineer, molding the palatal bones and lip elements from the first weeks of life until surgery.
  • Orthodontist. An orthodontist works to guide the growth of the face and its relation to the teeth.
  • Sleep specialist. Some craniofacial abnormalities interfere with sleep and breathing, and can cause sleep apnea. A sleep specialist can help diagnose and treat these problems.
  • Speech and language specialist. This specialist, who is experienced with cleft anomalies, will perform a comprehensive speech evaluation to assess your child's communicative abilities (both before and after surgery) and will monitor your child throughout all developmental stages. This specialist will also coordinate therapy with your child's schools and education systems.
  • Otolaryngologist (Ear-Nose-Throat specialist). This physician will assist in the evaluation and management of any ear infections and hearing loss that may be side effects of a cleft abnormality. In addition, they have unique training in breathing and are the team's airway development experts. This specialist can also help children with Robin sequence to avoid a tracheotomy.
  • Audiologist. Assists in the evaluation and management of any hearing difficulties your child may have.
  • Ophthalmologist. Various disorders may impact sight. An ophthalmologist evaluates and plans treatment of associated eye problems in coordination with other surgical interventions.
  • Genetic counselor. Some craniofacial abnormalities may be genetic in cause. A genetic counselor can help determine the cause and nature of the syndrome or disease, and will speak with your family to address any risks of recurrence in future pregnancies or in future grandchildren.
  • Nurse team coordinator. This is a registered nurse practitioner with expertise in pediatric care, and experience with children with cleft and craniofacial differences. The nurse team coordinator will act as a liaison between your family and the craniofacial team.
  • Social worker. This professional provides support and resources to your child and your family in dealing with the social and emotional aspects associated with a craniofacial abnormality.
  • Psychologist. This professional works with your child to help him or her cope with the frustrations and emotions unique to children with various craniofacial abnormalities.

Meet the Pediatric Cleft and Craniofacial Center team.

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To contact the Pediatric Cleft and Craniofacial Center or a team member, please call (585) 273-FACE.

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