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Seattle Children’s Craniofacial Center

Caring experts with unmatched experience in treating craniofacial conditions.

When it comes to diagnosing and treating craniofacial conditions, our team is among the most experienced in the world. No matter how rare the condition or syndrome, we have likely cared for someone like your child. Research shows that experience equals better results.

Meet Your Craniofacial Team

Seattle Children’s Craniofacial Center includes experts in every field your child might need — from reconstructive surgery, to craniofacial pediatrics, to orthodontics. With more than 50 experts from 19 specialties, we have the largest team in the nation, working together to create customized care plans for patients from birth through age 21. Meet your team.

A mother and son speak with a Seattle Children's doctor

“When patients come to us for a second opinion, it’s often because their child has a condition that’s more complicated than their local hospital’s team is used to. When they don’t get the outcome that they expected, or there’s concern about the outcome, then they say: What else is out there? They start to research the options. And that research often leads them to us.”

— Dr. Michael Cunningham, medical director, Seattle Children’s Craniofacial Center

Learn more about our approach to diagnosis.

Patient, provider, and parent

“Children with craniofacial conditions are best served by multidisciplinary teams that work seamlessly to provide comprehensive, patient-centered care. We have the most experienced group of providers in the world, including surgeons who are recognized internationally for their expertise with complex cases, rigorous assessment of outcomes and innovative approaches to improving care. Your child’s treatment, from diagnosis through long-term follow-up, will be centered around providing the right interventions at the right time. At each step along the care pathway, a craniofacial pediatrician will manage your child’s treatment plan and a craniofacial nurse specialist, social worker and family service coordinator will work together to ensure that your child receives exemplary care.”

— Dr. Seenu Susarla, division chief, Craniofacial and Plastic Surgery

Learn more about why families choose us.

Why Choose Seattle Children’s Craniofacial Center

19 Different specialties coordinate care based on a treatment plan tailored to your child’s unique needs
50+ Specialists work together to diagnose and care for your child
250+ Number of children with craniofacial microsomia Seattle Children’s has cared for in the past 5 years
12,000+ Number of kids Seattle Children’s has cared for with craniofacial conditions in the past 5 years

U.S. News and World Report Best Children's Hospitals 2023-2024 badge

Our Craniofacial Services

Our goal is to help your child live their best life. Read more about our treatments and services.

A Seattle Children's doctor talks with a patient and family

Fewer surgeries, improved outcomes for clefts

Cleft lip and palate are the most common craniofacial conditions we treat — more than 1,000 children every year. We start treatment early to provide comprehensive support and to reduce the need for surgeries as your child grows. For children with wide clefts, we can reshape the gums, lip and nose before surgery using nasoalveolar molding (NAM). This may mean fewer surgeries because it makes the cleft less severe.

Seattle Children’s has the largest team of surgeons specializing in clefting in the country.

Learn more about cleft lip and palate and how Seattle Children's is making a global impact for kids with this condition.

A boy poses for the camera

Better options for Treacher Collins syndrome

We combine expertise with innovation to help children with Treacher Collins syndrome get the maximum benefit from surgeries early in childhood. We use counterclockwise craniofacial distraction osteogenesis (C3DO), a technique developed by Dr. Richard Hopper and the Craniofacial team at Seattle Children’s, to allow children with Treacher Collins and other conditions to breathe without the need of a tracheostomy for the first time in their lives.

Learn more about C3DO and other advanced procedures for syndromes.

Read about Loui Legend’s 5,000-mile journey for life-changing surgeries at Seattle Children’s.

Imaging of a child's skull

Innovating to improve care for syndromic craniosynostosis

Our interdisciplinary team is experienced in performing the complex surgery your child might need, whether to expand their skull, lengthen their jaw or move bones in their face. Our goal is to minimize the number of steps in your child’s treatment plan by improving the outcome of each step.

Our team was the first to use segmental subcranial distraction to adjust the jaw and middle of the face for children with Apert and Pfeiffer syndromes. Surgeons around the world are adopting our approach, which recognizes and treats the specific deformity of facial bones in these rare conditions.

Learn about craniosynostosis and our research to continue to improve care.

A Seattle Children's provider examines a baby

Family-centered care

“We are one of the biggest centers in North America, but even though we are big, what is really unique is the emphasis on family and family-centered care. We listen to family experiences and try to tailor our care as much as possible to help families with their needs. Each patient and family is unique and we try to provide the best care possible, but in a way that can adjust to different circumstances”

— Dr. Raymond Tse, a plastic surgeon on the Craniofacial team

Learn more.

Conditions We Treat

Seattle Children’s treats children with the conditions listed below, as well as very rare conditions not mentioned here. Caring for thousands of patients each year helps us continually improve our treatments. Learn more about conditions we treat.

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

Patient Success Stories

Boys ready to go swimming

“We had such an excellent experience the first time around that we knew we wanted to do that again. We also had great results and so it was an easy choice for us. Dr. Birgfeld and Dr. Lee were so great and performed the surgery on Finnley, just like they had done on his older brother.”

– Kali, mother of Ronan and Finnley, who were both treated for craniosynostosis. Read about how these brothers were born with an identical craniofacial condition three years apart.

A baby with a breathing tube

“I didn’t have a moment of fear while we were at Seattle Children’s. I knew we were in good hands. They not only took care of us in physical ways, but they also made us feel comfortable and at ease. We’ll never forget the people who cared for us.

– Kirstin, mother of Asher, now a teenager living with Stickler syndrome.

A patient visits a doctor

“We’ve been traveling a long distance to Seattle Children’s for several years now. The coordination and level of care have proven to be worth it time and again. Our providers and care team go above and beyond to demonstrate their compassion and investment in Selah and doing what’s in her best interest. For that we’re truly grateful!”

– Blair, Selah’s mom

Lobby of Seattle Children's building

Many children and families with craniofacial conditions travel to Seattle Children's for treatment or surgery.

We offer dedicated support for families who live outside the Pacific Northwest and can help you coordinate transportation and housing so you can stay focused on your child. We have lots of experience helping families make the transition back home safely.

If you live outside of Alaska, Idaho, Montana or Washington, please call 206-987-0184 or email us for more information.

Contact the Craniofacial Center at 206-987-2538  for an appointment, a second opinion or more information.