Craniofacial Center

Why Choose Us

Caring Experts With Unmatched Experience

U.S. News and World Report Best Children's Hospitals Badge, Neurology and Neurosurgery, 2023-2024Most families have never heard of craniofacial disorders before their child is born with one. But every year, we treat hundreds of children with conditions from common clefts to rare syndromes.

  • No matter how complex, we have likely taken care of someone with your child’s condition.
  • Our team has more combined experience treating craniosynostosis than any other center in the country.
  • We have more surgeons specializing in cleft repair than any other U.S. hospital.
  • For more than a decade, U.S. News & World Report has consistently ranked our Neurosciences Center among the top pediatric neurology and neurosurgery programs in the country, which means your child will be cared for by the very best.
  • Seattle Children’s has the only cleft palate/craniofacial treatment team in Washington state recognized by the American Cleft Palate Craniofacial Association (ACPCA). This shows we meet ACPCA’s quality care standards in six categories.

Specialists to Cover All Your Child’s Needs

We provide the right treatment for your child at the right time.

  • We care for your child’s medical and surgical needs from birth until age 21. Care starts before birth if your baby is diagnosed by an ultrasound during pregnancy. Our Prenatal Counseling team can help you prepare.
  • Our Craniofacial Center has experts in every field your child might need – from reconstructive surgery to craniofacial pediatrics to orthodontics.
  • Fifty specialists work together to diagnose and care for our patients. We create a personalized plan of care for your child.
  • Our team meets weekly to discuss complex patient cases and decide on the best care plan. We work together, and with you and your family’s doctor, to coordinate your child’s care.

Meet your care team.

We Support Your Whole Family Through the Challenges

Having a child diagnosed with a craniofacial disorder can be scary. Our team is here to help.

  • We take time to explain your child’s condition and answer all your questions. We help you understand your treatment options and make choices that are right for your family. As their maturity allows, we include your child in discussions and decisions about their medical care.
  • Our social workers support your child and family through the challenges of your child’s condition. Child life specialists work with you and your child to help relieve tension, express concerns and fears, and feel more in control about the hospital experience.
  • Your family will be assigned a craniofacial pediatrician who will tailor a plan to your child’s needs. Your family service coordinator, craniofacial nurse specialist and social worker help coordinate your child’s care.

Setting Standards – and Raising the Bar – for Craniofacial Care

Our doctors work to improve care for children in our own hospital and across the globe.

  • To guide treatment from diagnosis onward, our team created clinical care pathways for craniosynostosis and for cleft lip and palate. These guide doctors to give the best care and make it easier to improve that care.
  • Our team helped develop national standards for treating craniosynostosis. We wrote standards that guide care for cleft lip and palate in Washington state.
  • Our surgeons developed a new approach to Treacher Collins syndrome that improves breathing and corrects jaw rotation better than the standard treatment. Known as counterclockwise craniofacial distraction osteogenesis (C3DO), the procedure makes it possible for children with severely restricted airways to breathe on their own.
  • Surgeons around the world are adopting our approach to surgery for children with Apert syndrome and Pfeiffer syndrome. Our team developed segmental subcranial distraction to more effectively treat children with these conditions. It results in better appearance, chewing and breathing compared to the traditional treatment.
  • We are training the next generation of craniofacial experts. Seattle Children’s is the only teaching hospital that offers pediatric fellowships in Craniofacial Plastic SurgeryCraniofacial Pediatrics and Craniofacial Surgical Orthodontics.
  • More than 90 African healthcare providers have been trained to treat cleft lip and palate since we started Partners in African Cleft Training (PACT) in 2007. They treat children in their own clinics and train other providers in their countries. PACT was co-founded by Dr. Michael Cunningham, medical director of Seattle Children’s Craniofacial Center, and Dr. Richard Hopper, former center surgical director. Learn more in our blog post and video.

Research That Improves Care

Our research improves understanding and treatment of craniofacial conditions.

  • We receive more research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) than any other craniofacial center in the United States.
  • Seattle Children’s researchers are working to find genetic causes of craniofacial disorders, understand their effects on children’s learning and identify the best surgical approaches.
  • Our research improves care, such as developing a better way of molding the nose before cleft lip surgery. Our team designed and patented this new method, called the Seattle alar molding device. We are making it available to doctors at other centers to improve cleft care for all children.

Read more about craniofacial research at Seattle Children's.

Much More Than Surgery – Caring for the Whole Family

A girl playing outside

Genesis Murillo is a fun-loving 4-year-old who was born with cleft lip and palate – the most common condition we treat at Seattle Children’s. Genesis was diagnosed by ultrasound during pregnancy, which helped her family prepare. Her personalized care plan included several surgeries to repair her lip and palate. Read how the whole family got the help they needed from our Craniofacial team.

We Are Here for You When You Need Us

  • We offer same- or next-day appointments for urgent cases. For most other needs, we offer appointments within 7 days.
  • Seattle Children’s provides craniofacial care for children in an area one-fourth the size of the continental United States.
  • For your convenience, our doctors see patients at locations in Seattle and the Tri-Cities. Seattle Children’s full range of craniofacial services is provided at our hospital campus in Seattle.
  • We offer support and guidance for families who live outside the Northwest. We also care for patients from across the globe. We have lots of experience providing outstanding, personalized care at great distances. Contact us for support for families outside of our region.
  • At monthly clinics in the Tri-Cities, an advanced registered nurse practitioner (ARNP) cares for children who have plagiocephaly, torticollis or macrocephaly. Our ARNP also provides follow-up care for children who have had plastic surgery.

Comprehensive, Coordinated Care (Video 3:05)

Contact Us

Contact the Craniofacial Center at 206-987-2208 for an appointment, a second opinion or more information.