Below are descriptions of the various specialties that work together to form an interdisciplinary treatment plan for each craniofacial disorder patient. These specialists will create a customized treatment based on the patient's individual needs.
A plastic and reconstructive surgeon performs craniofacial surgery on the face, nose, lips, maxilla and palate in the cleft patient. The plastic surgeon also operates in complex cases of face and skull deformities with other surgeons. Microvascular surgery is frequently performed, if indicated.
An oral and maxillofacial surgeon treats disorders of the jaws and facial bones. These structures frequently need to be repositioned in cleft and craniofacial deformities.
A neurosurgeon may be necessary for treating of craniofacial conditions if there is nerve involvement. He is also involved in reshaping the skull in various craniofacial conditions.
Ear, nose and throat physicians carefully monitor the child's hearing and assess possible infections of the ear, nose, mouth and throat, which children with craniofacial conditions are prone to get. The physician may recommend or provide medical or surgical management of the ears and throat and may also treat airway disorders.
An otologist specializes in diagnosing and treating conditions that affect an individual's ability to hear. This specialist may prescribe treatments that involve surgery, medicine or the use of hearing aids.
Because an individual with a craniofacial condition may have improperly positioned eyes or eyelids that may interfere with normal function, an ophthalmologist may be a part of the treatment team. If so, this specialist will evaluate the craniofacial patient to determine whether visual challenges exist and to optimize treatment to correct those that do.
An orthodontist specializes in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. Treatment of the craniofacial patient includes comprehensive evaluation of facial development and misalignment of teeth.
A prosthodontist specializes in using special devices to replace or recreate missing portions of the face and mouth for functional or cosmetic purposes.
A pediatric dentist closely monitors dental eruptions and recommends oral surgery necessary to facilitate normal dental growth.
A pediatrician will help the family establish proper nutrition and feeding, including instruction on breastfeeding and specialized bottle feeding. Pediatricians can provide standard infant and child immunizations and healthy child checkups, as well as provide specialized assessment of issues specific to craniofacial conditions, such as ear infections, nutrition and developmental milestones.
Craniofacial disorders may be associated with broader genetic conditions or increased risks in other family members. A genetic counselor and craniofacial expert meets with the child and family to discuss the benefits of genetic evaluation and genetic counseling.
A speech-language pathologist monitors early speech and language development and provides communication diagnosis and treatment.
Along with nursing, a dietitian may provide specialized instruction on breastfeeding and bottlefeeding to maintain proper nutrition.
A social worker and/or psychologist will evaluate the patient and family's psychosocial status and provide assistance to help the family manage all the recommended medical procedures in the patient's life.
A clinical nurse identifies any additional medical assessments that may be necessary, and organizes the craniofacial team evaluation and conference as well as provides all medical records necessary for correspondence. The clinical nurse coordinates the complex sequence of medical care needed for craniofacial patients and educates families on the issues they will be facing.