Plastic, Reconstructive and Oral Surgery Research

The Division of Plastic, Reconstructive and Oral Surgery at CHOP conducts research spanning a variety of focus areas, using the experience of a multi-disciplinary team to both advance the knowledge of conditions and improve the quality of life for the children we treat. The Division has been a leader in pediatric plastic surgery research for decades. In addition, we benefit from the close proximity of the research lab of the University of Pennsylvania’s Division of Plastic Surgery, located at the Leonard and Madlyn Abramson Pediatric Research Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Center for Craniofacial Innovation

The Center for Craniofacial Innovation leverages key innovations in genomics, gene editing, and cell therapy to advance diagnosis and treatment of craniofacial and congenital conditions. We seek to cultivate research programs with complementary strengths around the theme of craniofacial development to gain fundamental understanding and innovate breakthrough care of craniofacial conditions.

Clinical Research

Clinical research is an integral component of our Division’s mission. Our investigators conduct a wide variety of projects, both retrospective and prospective in nature. We investigate treatment outcomes and long-term results of surgical therapy, innovative treatment with novel devices and techniques, and psychosocial development of children with facial and body differences. Additionally, we strive to understand the patient and family experience, looking to always improve the delivery of education and care. Below represent some of the active projects within the Division:

  • Clinical outcomes in cleft lip and palate surgery
  • Clinical outcomes in craniofacial surgery
  • Investigation of the underlying genetics of congenital cleft and craniofacial conditions; a biospecimen collection effort
  • Development of Bone Selective MRI technology, a method of non-radiative skull imaging
  • Using Spectral Domain Optical Coherence Tomography to predict increased intracranial pressure in at risk patients
  • Evaluation of patient and parent reported outcome measures related to breast and chest wall conditions and their treatment
  • Chromosome 22q11.2 deletion syndrome: palatal phenotypes and surgical outcomes

Our Division also collaborates with other Children’s Hospitals, both nationally and internationally, to increase impact via joint research efforts. Some of these prospective studies are listed below:

  • Craniofacial microsomia: Accelerating Understanding of the Significance and Etiology (CAUSE)
    • A multi-center effort to identify the genetic variants related to the craniofacial microsomia (CFM) spectrum and to characterize detailed phenotypes of individuals with CFM
    • Additionally, the project aims to generate a bank of data and specimens that can be used for future research.
  • A comparative effectiveness study of speech and surgical treatments using a Cleft Palate Registry/Research Outcomes Network (CORNET)
    • A multi-center effort to compare clinician-rated speech outcomes, care-giver reported quality of life, and other outcome measures between two common cleft repair techniques

Quality Improvement Initiatives

Our Division strives to improve patient care through initiatives that, while not considered Research, are integral to the advancement of medical treatment.

  • Reducing Opioid Use in Children with Cleft Protocol (ROCC): A multidisciplinary quality improvement effort to reduce perioperative opioid use in patients undergoing cleft surgery
  • Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) Protocol for Cranial Vault Reconstruction: A multidisciplinary quality improvement project designed to evaluate hospital care following craniofacial surgery and optimize recovery
  • Reduction of Narcotic Pain Medication Use in Post-Operative Pain Management Following Ambulatory Surgical Procedures: A multidisciplinary quality improvement effort to reduce opioid use in patients undergoing low-risk outpatient surgeries
  • Psychosocial Preparation for Iliac Bone Graft Surgery in Children with Cleft Lip and Palate: A Quality Improvement Project. A quality improvement project to determine if psychoeducational intervention impacts understanding of, preparation for, and quality of experiences with bone graft surgery and associated hospitalization and recovery.


Clinical Research Fellows in the Division of Plastic, Reconstructive and Oral Surgery are a key component to the success of our program. Find out more information on Fellowship and past and current program fellows.

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Why Choose CHOP for Plastic, Reconstructive and Oral Surgery

Learn about what makes CHOP’s Division of Plastic, Reconstructive and Oral Surgery unique, and why our experience makes us the best choice for your child’s care.

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Your Child's Appointment with Plastic, Reconstructive and Oral Surgery

Find information about what to expect during your child's visit to CHOP's Division of Plastic, Reconstructive and Oral Surgery.