Reasons You Need to See a Craniofacial Surgeon

Reasons You Need to See a Craniofacial Surgeon

by Natalie (SU)

Congenital Problems


Any congenital deformity of the head, face, mouth, jaw, or neck can be evaluated and treated by a craniofacial surgeon. The following include some of the more common problems addressed in this type of practice.


Cleft Lip and Palate

Cleft lips and palates constitute a group of disorders with varying degrees of deformity among children. A cleft lip is an opening in the lip that may extend into the nose. A cleft palate is an opening in the roof of the mouth that may extend into the nose. Some children may be born with a combination of both, and there are many different degrees of the extent of opening. Cleft lips and palates can interfere with breathing, sucking and speech. These disorders often create problems with the ears, and result in frequent ear infections. A craniofacial surgeon is able to correct these problems within the early months to up to a few years of the child’s life. Surgery, accompanied by appropriate therapies usually results in very good outcomes.



When a child is born, the skull has not fully formed. There exist openings, called sutures, to allow for growth of the brain and the skull. Eventually, all of the sutures close by the time the child is about 3 years of age. However, when a child has craniosynastosis, one or more of the sutures close prematurely. Because the brain still needs room to grow, skull expansion will continue in unnatural directions, which will result in a misshapen head. Sometimes there is also a danger that there is not enough room left for the brain. A craniofacial surgeon can perform a procedure to reopen the suture, correct the deformity and provide ample space for the child’s growing brain.


Microtia and Other Ear Deformities

A child born with microtia has underdeveloped or small external ear structures. They may also have small or absent external ear canals. If there is no external ear, it is called anotia. This condition not only affects the child’s external appearance (which can affect self-esteem), it also generally results in a deficiency in hearing. Craniofacial surgery can be performed to create an external ear structure using tissue from other parts of the body. Often, collaboration with an otologist can help to improve the child’s hearing.


Corrective Jaw Surgery


You may not give much thought to your jaw. Many people’s jaws come in different shapes or sizes and simply seem to function as a frame supporting your face. However, the jaw is an extremely important structure that influences a number of vital activities for all of us. If you have problems with your jaw, you may have difficulty chewing, biting, or swallowing, which can affect your nutritional status and your health. It may also result in difficulty speaking, jaw pain, and headaches. If your jaw is misshapen, you may be wearing your teeth down, which will eventually result in the need for dental work.


If you cannot close your mouth correctly, you might be a chronic mouth breather, which can be harmful to your teeth and the tissue inside of your mouth. If your jaw is not properly aligned, it may contribute to sleep apnea and cause you to get inadequate amounts of sleep, as well as contributing to other chronic health conditions. Many people have jaws with minor, or major, deformities due to genetics. Others, however, may have developed problems due to injury or other chronic illnesses. The specialized background of a craniofacial surgeon prepares him or her to correct any nature of jaw deformity or malformation through the use of surgical interventions, sometimes in conjunction with orthodontic care.


Surgery Involving the Face, Head, and Neck


There are many different causes for problems associated with the structures of the face, head, and neck. Some are congenital, yet others arise as a result of trauma or injury. Any time an accident occurs that results in injury of the face, head, or neck, a craniofacial surgeon should be consulted to ensure not only the best cosmetic results are obtained, but also that function is restored to as close as possible to normal. Additionally, medical conditions that are best treated by a specialist in craniofacial surgery include cysts and tumors of the face, neck, mouth, and head. Vascular malformations and hemangiomas of the head, face, and neck should also be evaluated and treated by a craniofacial surgeon, to not only protect the health of your child, but to also protect their physical appearance and emotional well-being.


If you have any questions regarding any disorders of the head, neck, jaw, or face, or if you would like more information on the services provided by a craniofacial surgeon, please call Atlantic Center of Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery at (954) 983-1899, or request an appointment online.