Craniofacial Conditions

Seattle Children’s cares for children with the conditions listed here, as well as many others. Treating thousands of patients each year – with conditions ranging from cleft palate to rare syndromes – helps us continually improve our treatments.

Cleft Lip and Palate and Related Conditions

  • A gap in the lip or roof of the mouth (palate). It happens because of problems with how the lip or palate develops during pregnancy. This is the most common craniofacial condition we treat. Learn more.

  • Conditions related to changes on chromosome 22. Features may include cleft palate, heart defects, immune system problems and low calcium levels in the blood. Learn more.

  • A disorder that involves an abnormally small lower jaw and a tongue that tends to fall backward and block the airway. In a sequence, one feature sets off a series of other changes as a baby grows early in pregnancy. Also called Pierre Robin sequence. Learn more.

  • A genetic disorder of the connective tissue that supports the body’s joints and organs. It often causes problems with vision, hearing and development of the face and skeleton. Many children with this syndrome have cleft palate. Learn more.

  • A commonly inherited form of cleft lip and palate. Children with this condition are born with “pits,” or mounds of tissue in the lower lip. They may have cleft lip, cleft palate or both. The syndrome is caused by changes in the IRF6 gene. Learn more.

  • Please contact us if you have questions about any type of craniofacial condition. Among the many cleft-related conditions we treat are:

    • Branchio-ocular-facial syndrome
    • Ectrodactyly-ectodermal dysplasia-clefting syndrome
    • Frontonasal dysplasia
    • Holoprosencephaly
    • Kabuki syndrome
    • Opitz syndrome
    • Oro-facial-digital syndrome
    • Oto-palato-digital spectrum disorders

Craniosynostosis and Related Syndromes

  • The early closing of one or more of the soft, fibrous seams (sutures) that separate the bony plates of the skull. It changes the shape of the skull. Children with this condition need surgery to expand their skull so their brain has room to grow. Learn more.

  • This rare genetic form of craniosynostosis affects how a baby’s head, face, hands and feet look and work. Both of the soft, fibrous seams at the top and front of the skull (coronal sutures) are closed before birth. This affects the shape of the head and limits room for the brain to grow. Learn more.

  • In this rare genetic form of craniosynostosis, the bones of the skull, eye sockets and midface do not develop normally. It affects how a child’s head is shaped, how their face looks and how their teeth line up. Craniosynostosis is the early closing of one or more of the soft, fibrous seams (sutures) that separate the bony plates of the skull. Learn more.

  • This rare genetic form of craniosynostosis often causes an abnormally shaped head and flattened cheekbones. Children with this syndrome often have hearing loss and vision problems. Craniosynostosis is the early closing of one or more of the soft, fibrous seams (sutures) that separate the bony plates of the skull.

  • A change in head shape caused by external pressure on the skull. Learn more.

  • This rare genetic form of craniosynostosis often causes a baby to have an unusual head shape, an underdeveloped midface and differences in the bones of their hands and feet. Craniosynostosis is the early closing of one or more of the soft, fibrous seams (sutures) that separate the bony plates of the skull. Learn more.

  • A rare genetic form of craniosynostosis that causes a small midface, drooping eyelids and abnormal fingers and toes. Craniosynostosis is the early closing of one or more of the soft, fibrous seams (sutures) that separate the bony plates of the skull. Learn more.

  • We also treat children with Carpenter syndrome and many other craniosynostosis-related disorders. Please contact us if you have questions about any type of craniofacial condition.

Conditions That Cause Very Small Ears or Jaws

  • A condition that causes part of the face to be underdeveloped, especially the ear and lower jaw. Usually one side of the face looks different than the other (asymmetry). The condition can be mild or severe. It is the second most common birth defect, after cleft lip and palate. Learn more.

  • A rare genetic condition affecting the way the face develops — especially the cheekbones, jaws, ears and eyelids. Usually both sides of the face look like each other (symmetry). How severe the condition is varies widely from child to child. Learn more.

  • Please contact us if you have questions about any type of craniofacial condition that concerns you. Some of the other conditions that cause very small ears and jaws include:

    • Auriculocondylar syndrome
    • Branchio-oto-renal syndrome
    • CHARGE syndrome
    • Mandibulofacial dysostosis with microcephaly (MFDM)
    • Miller syndrome
    • Nager syndrome
    • Townes-Brocks syndrome

Other Rare Conditions

We also treat very rare craniofacial conditions that are not mentioned above. There are too many to list them all, but they include:

  • Beckwith-Weidemann syndrome
  • Blepharophimosis ptosis epicanthus inversus
  • Cleidocranial dysplasia
  • Fibrous dysplasia
  • Moebius sequence
  • Parry Romberg atrophy

See Resources for Families and Patients for more information about these and other conditions.

Contact Us

Please call the Craniofacial Center at 206-987-2208 for an appointment, a second opinion or more information. We welcome calls from families about all types of craniofacial conditions, whether you live near Seattle or far away.