Common Concerns for Children with Craniofacial Anomalies
The Cleft and Craniofacial Anomalies Clinic at American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin is a multidisciplinary clinic solely committed to providing expert care of infants, children and teens with congenital facial defects.
The following list details concerns our specialists pay particular attention to when evaluation a child with craniofacial anomalies:
- Feeding: Newborns with clefts and other craniofacial anomalies frequently have difficulty with breastfeeding and standard bottlefeeding. Our team makes specific recommendations for specialty feeding systems for your infant and monitors his/her progress with feeding.
- Hearing: Children born with craniofacial anomalies such as cleft palate have a much higher risk of hearing loss, in part due to inadequate Eustacian tube function. Many children with cleft and craniofacial conditions require tubes for drainage of the ear. All children in our clinic undergo frequent monitoring and hearing testing to assure that hearing loss is avoided. Individuals who require hearing aids receive specialized custom-made aids and repair service.
- Speech: Function of the palate is key to successful speech production. Children with cleft palate require palatal surgery to correct the cleft and careful speech monitoring and sometimes therapy to achieve correct speech quality. Surgeons and speech therapists work closely together with the child to assure voice quality.
- Dental: Children with complete clefts, hemifacial microsomia and other jaw abnormalities frequently have dental problems which require expansion, orthodontic alignment (braces), and surgery to correct. Infants with excessively wide clefts may require early alignment of the gum lines before initial cleft lip repair.
- Genetics: Craniofacial anomalies are sometimes associated with known genetic (DNA) abnormalities. All newborns, infants and children are clinically screened for the possibility of a genetic link. If certain patterns of facial features are noted, the individual may undergo blood test to determine if a genetic pattern is associated. Teenagers at the completion/graduation from Cleft and Craniofacial Anomalies Clinic clinic have a discussion with the genetics counselor regarding incidence of passing on the craniofacial condition to their children when they begin a family.
- Growth and Development: Children with craniofacial anomalies are continually monitored for achievement of physical growth and psychosocial development. If delays are discovered, the individual is appropriately evaluated and treated, and concerns are directly communicated with your child’s primary doctor.
- Emotional Well-Being: Children with craniofacial differences frequently have concerns over appearance, scars and social acceptance. Our experts assist with any emotional concerns or coping mechanisms throughout their formative years.