When birth defects are diagnosed with ultrasound, surgeons meet with parents before the baby is born to develop a treatment plan for their child. From expert craniofacial reconstructive surgery to speech therapy, we have the care children need.

Each type of craniofacial anomaly requires different treatment for the best results.


All skulls are made up of different plates. As a baby grows, these plates fuse together. Craniosynostosis occurs when part of the skull fuses too soon, causing changes in skull shape and serious complications. CHKD pediatric surgeons repair craniosynostosis, correcting skull shape and reducing pressure in the child’s head. Surgeons typically perform craniosynostosis surgery when your child is between 3 and 8 months of age.


Encephalocele is a birth defect that happens when part of the skull does not fuse correctly. Part of a child’s brain may come through holes in the skull and appear as a large bump. Encephalocele has many complications, including seizures, learning difficulties and spasticity. This serious craniofacial anomaly requires the care of CHKD neurosurgeons, plastic surgeons and ear, nose and throat surgeons. Encephalocele surgery is vital to ensuring a child experiences healthy growth and development.

Hemifacial microsomia

Hemifacial microsomia occurs if one half of an infant’s face and head is underdeveloped. This may mean small differences, such as one cheek is thinner than the other, or large differences, such as underdeveloped muscles, nerves and bones. The anomaly may include defects in ear, mouth and jaw. CHKD’s multidisciplinary team works together to develop a surgical treatment plan for hemifacial microsomia. Multiple surgeons and surgeries may be required to achieve facial symmetry and improve mouth and jaw function.

Jaw deformity

Jaw deformities can affect a child’s appearance, breathing, speaking and ability to eat. Jaw deformities may be present at birth or develop as a child grows. CHKD doctors offer jaw deformity surgeries to give children full use of their jaws. Orthodontics may also be needed if the deformity affects tooth alignment.

Learn more about the Cleft and Craniofacial Center at CHKD by calling (757) 668 – 7713.