While discovery of craniofacial birth defects generally comes after birth, in some cases the discovery may be made earlier by CHOP's Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment. This early discovery can allow clinicians to better prepare for the baby's birth, ensuring personnel and supplies are available — if needed — during and immediately after the baby's birth.
Comprehensive imaging and evaluation
In most cases, babies with neonatal craniofacial conditions will be transferred to Children’s Hospital after birth. Once they arrive here, they .are evaluated for airway obstructions, obstructive apnea, neurological compromise and feeding dysfunction.
Evaluation may include:
- Airway CT volume recon
- Ultra-low dose 3-D CT scan*
- Jaw evaluation and measurement
- Cranial suture studies
- CAD-CAM modeling
- Sleep studies
- Microlaryngoscopy and bronchoscopy (MLB) with airway surgeons
- Fluoroscopy-swallow studies
* We perform one-of-a-kind, ultra-low dose 3-D CT scans. This technology has proven invaluable in diagnosing craniosynostosis, midfacial hypoplasia, severe temporomandibular joint (TMJ) abnormalities, micrognathia, ocular abnormalities, complicated facial clefts and palatal abnormalities that are otherwise difficult to appreciate by conventional imaging.
Based on our initial evaluation of your child, our team will formulate a multidisciplinary treatment plan. We work closely with families and referring physicians to determine which therapies are appropriate for each child.
If an infant needs surgery, the baby will benefit from some of the most experienced neonatal-pediatric craniofacial surgeons in the country who employ the latest craniofacial surgical interventions.
These interventions include:
- Computer-aided simulation of surgery
- Nasal alveolar molding (NAM) for cleft lip and cleft palate
- Cranial vault reshaping/expansion
- Ear molding and reconstruction
- Distraction lengthening of the neonatal mandible to prevent tracheostomy, if applicable
Continuity of care
Depending on your child's condition and treatment, extensive follow-up will be coordinated with one or more of the following programs within the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery:
- Craniofacial Program
- Vascular Malformations Program
- Cleft Lip and Palate Program
- Facial Motion Disorders Program
In addition, follow-up will be coordinated by the Neonatal Airway Program and the Technology Dependence Center, if your child needs assistive therapies such as mechanical ventilation, airway clearance devices or an artificial airway.
Our craniofacial and cleft orthodontic practice also works in conjunction with the Neonatal Craniofacial Program team in pre- and post-surgical orthodontic management and treatment of patients.