Surgery on the bones in the face is often part of treatment for complex craniofacial conditions. These include Apert syndrome, Crouzon syndrome, craniofacial (hemifacial) microsomia, Treacher Collins syndrome, Robin sequence, and Saethre-Chotzen syndrome. Moving the bones in your child’s face can improve how they breathe, chew and look.
Weeks before the surgery, a craniofacial surgical orthodontist helps plan the procedure.
The orthodontist uses 3-D imaging and advanced software to build maps of your child’s face and skull. The software uses your child’s age and how different parts of their face are likely to grow over time to help plan the surgery. Planning for future growth reduces how much surgery your child might need over the years.
The imaging technology helps the orthodontist figure out the best position for the cheekbones, nose and the soft tissues of the face. This tells the orthodontist and craniofacial surgeon how much to move the jaw and facial bones ⎼ and in which directions. Moving the jaw improves the position of the teeth and bite.
Seeing an image of the expected results for their child helps many families decide about treatments.
BEFORE: Crouzon syndrome caused bones in the middle of this girl’s face to grow less than her lower jaw. This affected her breathing, chewing and appearance.
PLANNING: Using advanced imaging and software, the orthodontist created a simulation of how the girl would look after treatment. The detailed plan guided the surgeon in moving the cheekbones and jaw the right distances and directions.
AFTER: After surgery and distraction osteogenesis, this girl’s face has more normal proportions. Her eyes are protected, breathing is improved and teeth fit together better.
Often treatment to enlarge bones includes distraction osteogenesis after surgery. At regular visits to Seattle Children’s, your child’s orthodontist and surgeon check the movement and growth of bones in your child’s face. They adjust the tension on the distractor or the direction of the pull to get the best result.