Neonatal Craniofacial Program

From birth defect to basketball player

Born with craniosynostosis, a rare craniofacial birth defect that required many complex surgeries at CHOP, Brian Boyle is finishing his senior year as a starting point guard on the University of the Sciences basketball team. Read Brian's story in the Philadelphia Daily News.

Neonatal Craniofacial Program

The Neonatal Craniofacial Program at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is a new joint program run by the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the Division of Neonatology.

The program, housed within CHOP’s Newborn/Infant Intensive Care Unit (N/IICU), consists of a highly specialized team of pediatric plastic surgeons and neonatologists dedicated to the treatment and care of neonates with rare and complex craniofacial disorders and syndromes.


CHOP has long been a leader in the diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of infants, children and teens with a variety of congenital, genetic and acquired malformations of the head, face and jaw. 

Our Craniofacial Program is one of the largest single centers of its kind with more than 1,000 admissions per year — many for genetic syndromes with craniofacial deformations, micrognathia and tongue-based airway obstruction. Learn about the conditions we treat.

Because of increased referrals and our expanding scope of expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of neonates, we created the Neonatal Craniofacial Program. Learn about how our program evaluates and treats patients.

Close collaboration with Neonatal Airway Program

The Neonatal Craniofacial Program team works closely with the Neonatal Airway Program team to coordinate procedures, surgery and follow-up care. The team provides access to immediate referrals and consultation with one of our neonatal craniofacial plastic surgeons.

Recently, we have developed specific expertise in the care of severe micrognathia due to a variety of causes. Our program offers promising treatments such as mandibular distraction osteogenesis and works closely with the Neonatal Airway Program in diagnosis and follow-up of this condition. Often, we are able to treat these patients in a way that eliminates the need for a tracheostomy. 

Multidisciplinary team of specialists

The Neonatal Craniofacial Program is led by an experienced, multidisciplinary team that is focused on providing expert medical care for each patient and emotional support for the whole family. Our team consists of all board-certified neonatologists, plastic surgeons, geneticists, feeding/speech therapists, otolaryngologists and other support personnel with expertise in neonatal/infant craniofacial care.

The neonatal craniofacial team has extensive experience treating infants from all over the world with serious and often life-threatening craniofacial conditions.

Our specialized team includes:

  • Attending neonatologists
  • Specialized nursing teams
  • Plastic surgery nurse practitioners and physician assistants
  • Respiratory therapists
  • Neonatal clinical pharmacists
  • Neonatal nutritionists
  • Physical and occupational therapists
  • Speech therapists
  • Case managers
  • Dentists
  • Geneticists
  • Ophthalmologists
  • Interventional radiologists (for vascular malformations)
  • Orthodontists
  • Neurosurgeons
  • General pediatric surgeons
  • Dermatologists
  • Oculoplastic surgeons
  • Pulmonologists
  • Cardiologists
  • A psychosocial support team made up of social workers, psychologists and child life specialists

The American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association and the Cleft Palate Foundation agree that management of patients with craniofacial anomalies is best provided by a multidisciplinary team of specialists.

To learn more about individual team members, see meet our team.

Consulting specialty programs

The Neonatal Craniofacial Program collaborates with specialists throughout the Hospital to ensure patients receive the comprehensive care they need. Patients benefit from around-the-clock access to every pediatric subspecialty. Learn more about our consulting specialty programs and how they can help your child.

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.