Conditions treated by craniofacial/pediatric plastic and reconstructive surgery

At Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, we understand that you want the best possible care for your child – the kind of care you can count on. The kind of care you can trust.

We have a team of experts from many specialties who treat both children and adults with craniofacial disorders as well as general pediatric plastic surgery issues. We collaborate to find the best treatments for each of our patients.

Our team

Physicians and surgeons from a variety of departments work together to develop a treatment plan that is as unique as your child. Many craniofacial disorders, and congenital abnormalities in general, are best served when a number of experts come together. Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin has experts in many specialties. This means we are able to provide a high level of care that non-pediatric-focused hospitals can’t match. Our team includes specialists in:

  • Craniofacial/Plastic Surgery
  • Neurosurgery
  • Otolaryngology
  • Orthodontics
  • Dermatology
  • Pediatric (general) Surgery
  • Ophthalmology
  • Genetics
  • Imaging (Radiology)
  • Pulmonary (lung) issues
  • Feeding issues
  • Anesthesiology

Conditions we diagnose and treat

At Children’s Hospital, we treat all types of craniofacial disorders, including:

Cleft lip and cleft palate

Cleft lip and cleft palate are birth abnormalities of the mouth and lip. Cleft lip and cleft palate occur early in pregnancy when the upper lip and the roof of the mouth do not fuse together as they should. A child can have cleft lip, cleft palate or both. Most babies born with a cleft have no other birth abnormalities.

The Cleft Lip and Palate Center at Children's brings together several specialists to provide comprehensive inpatient and outpatient services at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. We care for patients with cleft lip and palate disorders from birth into adulthood.

Craniofacial abnormalities (anomalies)

Craniofacial anomalies are a diverse group of deformities in the growth of the head and facial bones. Anomaly is a medical term meaning "irregularity" or "different from normal." These abnormalities are present at birth and there are numerous variations. Some are mild and some are severe and require surgery.

Health care professionals in the Craniofacial Disorders Program at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin provide comprehensive care to children with common to complex craniofacial disorders and plastic surgery needs. Learn more about the Craniofacial Disorders Program.

Craniosynostosis

Craniosynostosis is a condition in which the fibrous joints found between the bony plates in the head (sutures) close too early during development, causing problems with normal brain and skull growth. Premature closure of the sutures may also cause the pressure inside of the head to increase and the skull or facial bones to change from a normal, symmetrical appearance.

Plagiocephaly (positional or deformational)

Deformational (or positional) plagiocephaly refers to an asymmetrical shape of the head that occurs after repeated pressure to the same area of the head. Treatment of deformational plagiocephaly generally includes positioning and/or wearing a helmet, but not surgery.

Torticollis

Torticollis is a tightening of the neck muscles resulting in a head tilt and/or head turn preference. It is most often caused by the position of a baby in the uterus before birth or by mild injury to the neck muscles during delivery. It usually is treated with physical therapy, beginning as early as possible.

Learn more about treatment for torticollis.

Vascular malformations and hemangiomas

Hemangiomas 

An infantile hemangioma (hem-an-gee-o-ma), or "strawberry mark," is a very common type of birthmark. It is made up of blood vessels, and usually is not visible at birth. It tends to grow relatively rapidly during the first year, then slowly go away over several years. There are a couple of different kinds of hemangiomas, and the specific type is important in deciding the treatment.

Vascular malformations 

Vascular malformations are different from hemangiomas. Unlike hemangiomas, vascular malformations may be visible at birth, do not go away, and often follow unpredictable growth patterns. Other terms used include port-wine stains (or capillary malformations), AV malformations, venous malformations, lymphatic malformations, lymphangiomas and cystic hygroma.

Other conditions

Other conditions include:

  • Pierre Robin Sequence and airway obstruction
  • Craniofacial trauma, including dog bites and burns
  • Facial paralysis and hemifacial atrophy
  • Giant birthmarks requiring complex reconstruction using tissue expanders
  • Deformities of ears, including prominent ears and microtia, where the ear is badly malformed at birth and may require complex reconstruction using rib cartilage
  • Deformities of the breast, including underdevelopment and asymmetry