Skip to main content


Richard Alan Hopper, MD

Richard Alan Hopper, MD

Plastic Surgery, Craniofacial, Vascular Anomalies

On staff since September 2001

Children's Title: Division Chief, Plastic Surgery; Surgical Director Craniofacial Center

Academic Title: Associate Professor

Research Center: Center for Clinical and Translational Research

"Each day I count myself fortunate to be able to work with children with craniofacial challenges. Their spirit, courage and dignity give me the energy to always do my best in the clinic and the operating room. We take our faces for granted when we see, breathe, talk and smile. These children do not. So when they smile, and you’ve been able to help that smile, it lights up the room."


BarbraAuburn WA08.27.14
Dr. Hopper fixed my son's face! He was born with a bilateral incomplete cleft lip and palate in early January and after stabilization with the NAM appliance, the surgery for the lip and nose was done last week. He looks so good! Dr. Hopper and his team did an amazing job for my baby. I couldn't be more pleased. He is a very, very good plastic surgeon and and I can't say enough good things about his compassionate care, genuine interest in the progress of my child, and his straight forward nature. My son is full of energy, is working through learning how to eat with his new mouth, and is having a much better experience overall with feeding and play time. Thank you for being awesome Dr. Hopper! We appreciate you.
KathrynBothell, WA05.21.14
My son was born with a rare condition called Metopic Craniosynostosis, where the metopic suture between the plates in his skull fused prematurely. Because his skull could not expand to accommodate his growing brain the condition caused his head to grow into an abnormal shape, and if left uncorrected could lead to serious brain problems. My husband and I were absolutely terrified about the surgery, but Dr. Hopper was wonderful about answering all our questions and explaining exactly how they would reconstruct his skull. In January 2014, Dr. Hopper worked in tandem with Dr. Ellenbogen to perform a 6+ hour procedure called a Cranial Vault Reconstruction and Frontal Orbital Advancement. He and his team did beautiful work! My son recovered quickly and is now a perfectly happy, healthy, and very handsome 16 month old. We are so pleased with the results (and all that extra space for his brain to grow!) Strangers tell me what an adorable baby he is, and they have no idea that there was ever anything different about him. We cannot thank Dr. Hopper enough!
JennyPhx az08.03.13
My daughter was born with very little air to breath in with her nose. She had a hard time breathing, her eyes were also not normal they were 2 as big as a normal our year old kids as should be. I took her to her doctor that work at Phoenix Children's hospital, they recommended that I take her to Seattle children hospital.. we spend 3 Months in seattle for my daughter health. Dr. Hopper was the doctor that did my daughters surgery, now she is a happy, healthy 7 yr old kid.
ReneeYakima, WA01.19.13
We came to Dr. Hopper by a local recommendation of a Public Health Nurse when our son was born with unilateral partial cleft lip weeks after birth. Surgery was set for his 4 month birthday. It was scary but I have never felt more supportive from the entire team, but especially Dr. Hopper and his colleagues. We cannot thank them enough and will not forget how perfect our child's smile is now, the fact that he will learn to blow bubbles with ease, play a flute if he wants, and how is kisses mean so much more. Thank you!
BarbaraKinnear, Wyoming09.19.11
When our son Sean was born with a cleft lip and palate, we were full of questions, concerns and fears. Dr. Hopper (and the whole team) made us feel comfortable with their caring approach immediately. Believe me, there isn't anything more scary than handing our five-month-old baby over for an operation. Our son is now nine years old and has two operations behind him, with another yet to come. It's wonderful to have Dr. Hopper as his lead doctor all through my son's treatment and not have to start over building trust in a new doctor every time we visit. We know Dr. Hopper genuinely cares, we trust him, and the results have been nothing short of amazing. Thank you Dr. Hopper!
AllisonZillah, WA04.14.11
Our son was referred to Dr. Hopper at five months of age. We were overwhelmed and terrified. We were scheduled to only meet with the pediatrician from Craniofacial but had so many questions about the surgery that she asked Dr. Hopper to come in and visit. He was in surgery but more than willing to meet with us once he was done. He completed surgery and then came in to answer our long list of questions. No appointment, just a good kind heart to ease a couple of very worried parents. We were confident that our son was in great hands and never doubted that from the first time we met him until we checked out after surgery. Absolutely amazing doctor! We feel blessed to have had such a great doctor in such a scary situation to brand new parents. Our son is happy, healthy, and beautiful!
DeniseFederal Way, WA09.08.12
My son was born with a Cleft Lip and Palate. His Cleft lip and Palate repairs were done at Seattle Childrens in 2000 and 2001. When my son was ready for his 3rd Surgery a bone graft, his former Surgeon was no longer at Seattle Childrens and we were placed in the Care of Dr. Hopper. I can't say enough wonderful things about Dr. Hopper. He was very reassuring, very kind and patient with us. He explained in a way we could understand what the surgery entailed. I highly recommened anyone with any type of facial challenge to put his/her care into the very capable and gifted hands of this Surgeon. Thank you to Dr. Hopper and Seattle Childrens Hospital for being there for my son. I am so grateful for all you have done for us.
Recommend Dr. Richard Hopper


Board Certification(s)
Plastic Surgery (Non-ABMS)
Medical/Professional School
Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Newfoundland
Plastic Surgery, University of Toronto, Toronto
Surgery - Craniofacial, New York University Medical Center, New York
Clinical Interests

Craniosynostosis, cleft lip and palate, craniofacial syndrome, distraction osteogenesis

Research Description

One of the most important goals of a surgeon is to work towards doing more benefit with less surgery. Dr. Hopper's research interest centers on performing careful analysis of the craniofacial structure of a child before surgery, immediately after surgery and then years later. Using modern digital technology such as image analysis programs and 3-dimensional scanners, Dr. Hopper's team is able to learn which techniques work the best for each individual child. His work to date has focused on the complex surgeries of treating children whose faces have not grown in proportion to the rest of their body resulting in problems breathing, eating and seeing. His clinical research on the cutting edge Lefort III distraction osteogenesis procedure used to help these patients has made him a recognized national expert in the field. Dr. Hopper's other research focus in designing novel medical devices to help children before surgery, such that more can be achieved while they are in the operating room. He is the inventor of the patent pending Seattle Alar Molding (SAM) device for pre-surgery treatment of infants with cleft lip that will be going to trial in 2011.

Research Focus Area


Awards and Honors

Award NameAward DescriptionAwarded ByAward Date
SEATTLE MAGAZINE TOP DOCTOR - 2014Seattle Magazine 2014
SEATTLE'S TOP DOCTOR - 2014Seattle Metropolitan Magazine 2014
Seattle Magazine Top Doctor - 2013Seattle Magazine 2013
Seattle's Top DocSeattle Met Magazine 2013
U.S. News Top DoctorU.S. News and World Report 2012
"Guide to America's Top Pediatricians"Consumer's Research Council of America 2009
2009 Best Doctors in AmericaBest Doctors in AmericaJan. 1, 2009
2009 Seattle Magazine Top DoctorsSeattle MagazineJan. 1, 2009


Computed tomographic analysis of temporal maxillary stability and pterygomaxillary generate formation following pediatric Le Fort III distraction advancement.
Plastic and reconstructive surgery , 2010 Nov: 1665-74
Major morbidity and mortality rates in craniofacial surgery: an analysis of 8101 major procedures.
Plastic and reconstructive surgery , 2010 Jul: 181-6
Feeder-free self-renewal of human embryonic stem cells in 3D porous natural polymer scaffolds.
Biomaterials , 2010 Jan: 404-12
Discharge practices, readmission, and serious medical complications following primary cleft lip repair in 23 U.S. children's hospitals.
Plastic and reconstructive surgery , 2009 May: 1553-9
Bilateral lambdoid and sagittal synostosis (BLSS): a unique craniosynostosis syndrome or predictable craniofacial phenotype?
American journal of medical genetics. Part A , 2009 May: 1024-32
What the patients and parents do not tell you-recollections from families following external LeFort III midface distraction.
Plastic surgical nursing : official journal of the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgical Nurses , 2009 Apr-Jun: 78-85; quiz 86-7
Osteoblasts stimulated with pulsed electromagnetic fields increase HUVEC proliferation via a VEGF-A independent mechanism.
Bioelectromagnetics , 2009 Apr: 189-97
Bupivacaine administration and postoperative pain following anterior iliac crest bone graft for alveolar cleft repair.
The Cleft palate-craniofacial journal : official publication of the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association , 2009 Mar: 173-8
Hormonal profiles of late gestation ewes following intra-uterine inoculation with and without lux-modified Escherichia coli.
The Journal of reproduction and development , 2009 Feb: 55-62
Comparison of computed tomographic imaging measurements with clinical findings in children with unilateral lambdoid synostosis.
Plastic and reconstructive surgery , 2009 Jan: 300-9
Symptom outcomes following cranial vault expansion for craniosynostosis in children older than 2 years.
Plastic and reconstructive surgery , 2009 Jan: 289-97; discussion 298-9
Patterns and outcomes of pediatric facial fractures in the United States: a survey of the National Trauma Data Bank.
Journal of the American College of Surgeons , 2008 Nov: 710-6
Evaluation and treatment of zygomatic fractures.
Plastic and reconstructive surgery , 2007 Dec: 5S-15S
Isolated sagittal and coronal craniosynostosis associated with TWIST box mutations.
American journal of medical genetics. Part A , 2007 Apr 1: 678-86
Diagnosis of midface fractures with CT: what the surgeon needs to know.
Radiographics : a review publication of the Radiological Society of North America, Inc , 2006 May-Jun: 783-93
A virtual reality tracking system for distal mandible movement during distraction osteogenesis.
Plastic and reconstructive surgery , 2006 Feb: 590-4; discussion 595
MDCT diagnosis of the child with posterior plagiocephaly.
AJR. American journal of roentgenology , 2005 Nov: 1342-6
Electromagnetic fields increase in vitro and in vivo angiogenesis through endothelial release of FGF-2.
The FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology , 2004 Aug: 1231-3
Acellularization of human placenta with preservation of the basement membrane: a potential matrix for tissue engineering.
Annals of plastic surgery , 2003 Dec: 598-602
Molding of the regenerate in mandibular distraction: clinical experience.
Plastic and reconstructive surgery , 2003 Oct: 1239-46
Cephalometric analysis of the consolidation phase following bilateral pediatric mandibular distraction.
The Cleft palate-craniofacial journal : official publication of the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association , 2003 May: 233-40
Volumetric change of the medial pterygoid following distraction osteogenesis of the mandible: an example of the associated soft-tissue changes.
Plastic and reconstructive surgery , 2003 May: 1804-7
The first decade of mandibular distraction: lessons we have learned.
Plastic and reconstructive surgery , 2002 Dec: 1704-13
Distraction osteogenesis of zygomatic bone grafts in a patient with Treacher Collins syndrome: a case report.
The Journal of craniofacial surgery , 2002 Mar: 279-83; discussion, 284-6
The use of intraoperative autotransfusion during cranial vault remodeling for craniosynostosis.
Plastic and reconstructive surgery , 2002 Jan: 58-63


Presentations TitleEventLocationDate
Advances in Cranial ReconstructionTechnological Advances in Head and Neck Oncology and Craniomaxillofacial SurgeryUnknownJuly 1, 2009
Facial Reconstruction Following TraumaWAMI 20th Annual Trauma ConferenceSeattle, WAJune 1, 2009
Faces of CourageCircle of Care National ConferenceSeattle, WAJan. 1, 2009

Research Funding

Grant TitleGrantorAmountAward Date
2006 Burgess fund for craniofacial surgical advancement Seattle Children's Foundation $30,000.00Jan. 1, 2006 - Jan. 1, 2009
2006 Sinegal fund for craniofacial researchSeattle Children's Foundation $150,000.00Jan. 1, 2006 - Jan. 1, 2009

Primary Office

Seattle Children's
OA.9.220 - Plastic Surgery
4800 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105

Additional Offices

Seattle Children's Bellevue Clinic and Surgery Center
1500 - 116th Ave NE
Bellevue, WA 98004

Find a Doctor or Researcher

Find a Doctor or Researcher

Type the first or last name you are searching for or select a specialty.

Doctor or Researcher Name:

More search options