Neonatal Craniofacial Program

Evaluation and Treatment of Neonatal Craniofacial Conditions

Early diagnosis and treatment is important to achieve optimal outcomes and correction of many craniofacial birth defects. The optimal time for the first evaluation with the Neonatal Craniofacial Program at CHOP is within the first few weeks of the child's life.

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 Image of isolated airway volumes
Isolated airway volumes, before distraction
After distraction, with more than 300 percent increase in overall upper airway volume.
are evaluated for airway obstructions, obstructive apnea, neurological compromise and feeding dysfunction.

Evaluation may include:

* 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. Learn about the conditions we treat.

Personalized treatment 

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:

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:

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.

Contact us

For more information the Neonatal Craniofacial Program at CHOP, please call 215-590-2616 or contact us online. To schedule an appointment, call 215-590-2208.


Reviewed by: Scott Bartlett, MD, and Janet Lioy, MD, FAAP
Date: April 2013

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Contact Us

More information
about our program

  • 215-590-2616

Schedule an appointment

  • 215-590-2208

Face to Face Project

Learn about an innovative program aimed at improving self-esteem for children with craniofacial conditions. See the Craniofacial Program Portrait Project.