When a child has a facial difference, the family often worries about the youngster’s future and the challenges that lie ahead. A major source of concern for the family is how to identify the myriad care specialists necessary to meet their child’s individual needs.
The Craniofacial Center at Nicklaus Children's Hospital
Florida’s only specialty center for children with craniofacial disorders at Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital, is a full-service resource. It offers comprehensive management for infants, children and young adults with craniofacial disorders, including, but not limited to:
The first step in treating patients with craniofacial differences is to conduct a complete evaluation and make a diagnosis. Since each facial difference is unique, the expertise of a multidisciplinary team of various medical, surgical and rehabilitation specialists is required to develop a systematic, comprehensive treatment plan for each child.
The initial evaluation is conducted during a single appointment attended by a variety of team specialists. Following the assessment, the team members deliver a diagnosis and make recommendations regarding treatment and comprehensive/continuous care.
Enhancements in prenatal ultrasound imaging technology have resulted in increasing numbers of families learning that their baby has a craniofacial difference before his or her birth. The Craniofacial Center offers a Prenatal Clinic for expectant parents, providing them opportunities to meet with the team and have questions answered. This helps families feel more prepared for the birth of their baby, and promotes a more enjoyable pregnancy and birth experience.
A Team Approach to Care
The members of the Craniofacial team work together to develop and deliver a coordinated plan of care to meet each child’s individual needs. The multidisciplinary team is comprised of specialists in the following disciplines:
Audiology - Evaluates hearing
Genetics - Evaluates inherited conditions
Feeding and swallowing - Evaluates oral-motor feeding and swallowing
Nursing - Oversees coordination of care
Orthodontics - Corrects the position of the teeth
Oral Surgery - Specializes in mouth/jaw surgery
Otolaryngology - Treats ears, nose and throat problems
Parent advocates - Provides support to families
Pediatrics - Monitors growth and development
Pediatric dentistry - Provides dental care
Plastic surgery - Improves appearance and function by surgical means
Prostodontics - Makes artificial teeth and mouth prostheses
Psychology - Evaluates mental development and counsels
Social Work - Helps with family dynamics and finances
Speech language - Evaluates speech, language and resonance
Team secretary - Schedules and coordinates appointments
Other specialties that work in concert with the Craniofacial Center include:
The Craniofacial Center is sponsored by Children’s Medical Services and the State of Florida Department of Health.