Treating birth defects involving cleft lip, cleft palate, and other craniofacial anomalies requires the expertise of specialists from a variety of medical fields. Depending upon the child's specific needs, his or her care team may include specialists from pediatric and plastic surgery, pediatric medicine, dentistry, audiology, and speech and language—just to name a few. This type of multidisciplinary approach is recommended by the American Cleft Palate Association (ACPA).
At Golisano Children's Hospital, we are fortunate to have an experienced, multidisciplinary team that is recognized by the ACPA as well as other medical organizations. Meet our members:
Plastic Surgery Team Director
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.
A 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.
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.
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.
Various disorders may impact sight. An ophthalmologist evaluates and plans treatment of associated eye problems in coordination with other surgical interventions.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
An orthodontist works to guide the growth of the face and its relation to the teeth.
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.
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.
This professional works with your child to help him or her cope with the frustrations and emotions unique to children with various craniofacial abnormalities.
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.
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.
Pediatric Sleep Medicine Services
Some craniofacial abnormalities interfere with sleep and breathing, and can cause sleep apnea. A sleep specialist in Pediatric Sleep Medicine Services can help diagnose and treat these problems.