The Craniofacial Team

When should my child see a craniofacial team?

The best time for the first assessment of craniofacial abnormalities is within your child's first few weeks of life. The focus of the team visit is to help correct your child's medical problems and to ease adapting to each stage of life. Usually, your child will be seen at frequent intervals as a baby and then once or twice a year after that.

The craniofacial treatment team

Many people may be involved in the management of craniofacial issues for your child. This is because the skills of many different areas are needed to help with the problems that can happen. The following are some of the members of the craniofacial team:

  • Plastic/craniofacial surgeon. A surgeon with special training in the diagnosis and treatment of abnormalities of the skull, facial bones, and soft tissue. They will work closely with the orthodontists and other specialists to coordinate a surgical plan.

  • Neurosurgeon. Usually a pediatric neurosurgeon who specializes in the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. They coordinate all surgeries with the craniofacial surgeons (for example, craniosynostosis).

  • Pediatrician. A healthcare provider who specialized in the medical care of children and who will follow your child as they grow. They help coordinate the multiple specialists involved and manage your child's preventive health needs, such as immunizations and growth and development evaluations.

  • Orthodontist. A dentist who evaluates the position and alignment of your child's teeth. They coordinate a treatment plan with the surgeon and other specialists.

  • Pediatric dentist. A dentist who specializes in the care of children's teeth.

  • Speech and language specialist. A professional who will do a thorough speech evaluation to assess your child's communication abilities. They will closely keep track of your child throughout all developmental stages.

  • Otolaryngologist (ear-nose-throat specialist). A surgeon who will help evaluate and manage ear infections and hearing loss that may be side effects of your child's cleft abnormality.

  • Audiologist (hearing specialist). A professional who will help evaluate and manage any hearing problems your child may have.

  • Ophthalmologist. A surgeon who specializes in the structure, function, and diseases of the eye. An ophthalmologist evaluates and plans treatment of eye problems in coordination with other surgical treatments.

  • Genetic counselor. A professional who reviews the health and family history, as well as examines your child to help in diagnosis. A genetic counselor also counsels your family on risk for craniofacial abnormalities to happen in future pregnancies.

  • Nurse team coordinator. A registered nurse who combines experience in pediatric nursing with specialization in the care of your child. They act as liaison between your family and the craniofacial team.

  • Social worker. A professional who provides guidance and counseling for your child and your family in dealing with the social and emotional aspects of a craniofacial abnormality. They help your family with community resources and referrals (for example, support groups, financial assistance).

  • Psychiatrist. A healthcare provider who assesses the psychosocial function and behavioral development of your child. The psychiatrist will help the family identify therapy resources and coordinate referrals with the social services department.

Medical Reviewer: Ashutosh Kacker MD
Medical Reviewer: Marianne Fraser MSN RN
Medical Reviewer: Raymond Kent Turley BSN MSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 8/1/2023
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