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Craniofacial

Our Team

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Seattle Children's Craniofacial Team

Our team, led by Michael L. Cunningham, MD, PhD, medical director, and Richard A. Hopper, MD, MS, surgical director, consists of over 50 healthcare providers from 18 specialty areas, each dedicated to the care of children with craniofacial conditions.

This combination of specialties enables us to create an individual plan of care for your child. Because every child with a craniofacial condition is different, an individual plan is important.

Your child is assigned a craniofacial pediatrician who provides a diagnostic evaluation, coordinates the care provided by the team and tailors it to your child's situation.

The team meets weekly to see patients, allowing for on-the-spot consultation and coordination of care.

We also hold weekly team conferences to discuss children with particularly complicated issues, in order to provide the highest quality care to our patients.

Learn More About Our Team 

Audiology

Audiologists evaluate your child's hearing. Children with craniofacial conditions are at increased risk for ear and hearing problems, so hearing should be carefully monitored throughout childhood, starting as early as one month of age.

Untreated hearing loss can lead to problems with speech and language development, psychological and social development, and educational performance.

  •  Jessika Horn, MS, CCC-A 

Dental Medicine/Orthodontics

Pediatric dentistry is an important part of the craniofacial team. Healthy teeth and gums are particularly important for children with craniofacial conditions.

Orthodontic assessment and treatment is a necessary step in preparing for surgery involving the gum line, jaws and teeth. The orthodontist works closely with the plastic surgeons or oral maxillofacial surgeons and pediatricians to determine the timing and details of all craniofacial surgery. 

Fellows

A fellow is a doctor who has finished medical school and is now training in a special field. Our Craniofacial fellows are learning to treat children's craniofacial conditions. As part of your child's Craniofacial team, these doctors will assist the team in your child's general care and visit your child while in the hospital.

Geneticists and Genetic Counselors

We formed the Craniofacial Genetics Clinic, a collaboration between Children's Genetics Clinic and the Craniofacial Center, to provide families with information on genetic disorders to help them make informed medical and personal decisions.

The Craniofacial Genetics Clinic provides comprehensive genetics services, including consultation with board-certified medical geneticists and genetic counselors with specific experience in craniofacial disorders.

Neurosurgery

Craniofacial conditions can affect the brain directly and indirectly. Neurosurgeons specialize in treating abnormalities of the brain and skull.

Our neurosurgeons have specific interest and expertise in managing craniofacial conditions. They work with our plastic and reconstructive surgeons on craniofacial conditions involving the skull and spine. 

Learn more about neurosurgery.

Nursing

Treatment plans can be complex, so our nurses are an important resource for families seen in the Craniofacial Center. Their role includes patient assessment, coordination of care, education before surgical procedures, and long-term follow-up.

They are available to families throughout the course of care to answer questions and give advice. Our pediatric nurse practitioners provide direct patient care in the Craniofacial and Plagiocephaly Clinics.

Nutrition

Children with craniofacial conditions may have challenges with eating and weight gain, especially during the first years of life.

Our nutritionists work closely with the family, their primary physician, and their craniofacial pediatrician to develop feeding plans, monitor calorie intake and track weight gain.

  • Cam Lanier, RD, CD
  • Regina Nagy-Steinert, RD, CD

Occupational/Physical Therapy

Our occupational and physical therapists perform a wide range of assessments including feeding evaluations, developmental assessments, physical therapy and positioning advice.

They work with the family to evaluate the child's motor and development skills, and provide recommendations for ongoing therapy.

  •  Gayle Bonato, PT, IBCLC, MPH 
  •  Robin Glass, MS, OTR, IBCLC 
  •  Jane Mason, PT 
  •  Lynn Wolf, MOT, OTR, IBCLC 

Ophthalmology

A craniofacial abnormality may affect a child's vision or the position of the eyes. Our ophthalmologist is a surgeon who assesses and treats vision, the action of the muscles controlling eye movement, the health of the optic nerve and the protection of the eye by the bony brow.

Working closely with the plastic surgeons, neurosurgeons, and other team members, our team ophthalmologist provides comprehensive care.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Our oral and maxillofacial surgeon specializes in the surgical treatment of the jaw, teeth and lower face. The goals are to create facial symmetry, properly align the jaws and ensure proper placement of your child's teeth.

Many craniofacial conditions involve these areas, and so our oral surgeon works closely with our orthodontists and other surgeons to improve facial function and appearance.

Otolaryngology

Our otolaryngologists are surgical specialists with expertise in treating disorders of the head, neck, ears, nose and throat in children of all ages. They assess and monitor your child's hearing, ears, feeding, breathing and speech development.

They also work with the team to provide medical and surgical therapy for disorders and anomalies of these areas.

Pediatrics

The craniofacial pediatrician provides diagnostic evaluations, management of medical problems related to your child's craniofacial diagnosis, and coordinates the specialty care given to your child.

The craniofacial pediatrician will be familiar with all aspects of your child's diagnosis, and will align the recommendations of each specialist with the needs and desires of the family.

The craniofacial pediatrician will work with your primary care physician to monitor your child's overall health and development.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Our plastic surgeons have all completed fellowships in craniofacial surgery, and specialize in the surgical treatment of craniofacial disorders. They perform plastic and reconstructive surgery on both the soft tissue in the face and the bones of the face and skull.

Your child may need multiple surgical procedures to address the function and appearance of the face and head due to the complex nature of many of these conditions.

Psychiatry

Craniofacial disorders often create a difficult adjustment for the child and family. Our psychologists assist in providing evaluation and support for your child at crucial times in social development.

Psychosocial professionals work with you at all stages of your child's life. They can help determine how a craniofacial condition is affecting your child's life and provide support and guidance.

Differences in appearance can cause a wide variety of emotional reactions for your child and family. The key role of psychologists and social workers is to help families and children be their best.

Psychosocial professionals can also offer practical information learned from their work with many other families. They can be a resource when you are making decisions about whether your child needs more surgery. They can help you and your child prepare for surgery and for a hospital stay.

If recommended, they can provide psychological testing to give you important feedback about your child's learning.

Research

The mission of the Craniofacial Center is to provide the best possible interdisciplinary team care to our patients.

Our dedicated research team works behind the scenes to increase our understanding of the causes of craniofacial malformations in order to define new diagnostic and treatment strategies.

Respiratory Care Specialists

Our team of respiratory therapists provides diagnostic and therapeutic services to our patients. They educate parents about pulmonary medications and equipment, and prepare and support home respiratory support therapies.

  • Carol Franzen, RRT, LRCP
  • Leslee Hill, RRT, LRCP

Social Work

Our social workers are available to you throughout your child's treatment for support and information about the diagnosis and the impact a craniofacial abnormality may have on the family.

The social worker assists with the local craniofacial family support group, can facilitate family-to-family connections, and can help you locate resources. Working closely with our team psychologists and child life specialists, we provide integrated psychological support for your child and family.

  • Cassandra Aspinall, MSW, LICSW 
  • Staci McCole, MSW
  • Ashley Peter, MSW, LICSW 

Read Ashley Peter's blog post to learn more about social workers at the Craniofacial Center.

Speech Pathology

Craniofacial anomalies, including cleft palate, may contribute to speech differences. Our speech pathologists assess and monitor your child's speech development throughout childhood to determine if management through speech therapy or surgery is needed to improve speech skills.

  • Sara Kinter, MA, CCC-SLP
  • Julie Martina, MA, CCC-SLP

Support Staff

    Family service coordinators

    • Maylen Castro
    • Sherilyn Grote
    • Jennifer MacKinnon 

    Medical photographer

    Program assistants

    • Jerrie Bishop
    • Karina Martinez-Lopez
    • Tiffany McCullough
    • Lindsey Potter

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