Craniofacial (Hemifacial) Microsomia

Also known as first and second brachial arch syndrome, oral-mandibular-auricular syndrome, lateral facial dysplasia, or otomandibular dysostosis, craniofacial microsomia is a congenital condition in which the lower half of the face does not develop or grow normally. This condition can affect one or both sides of the face and may have various levels of severity, but usually always includes the abnormal development of the ear, the lower jaw (mandible), and mouth. After cleft lip/palate, this is the second most common facial birth defect.

What causes craniofacial microsomia?

The cause of craniofacial microsomia is unknown. It is a condition that begins during embryonic development.

How do you treat craniofacial microsomia?

Craniofacial microsomia is a complex condition that requires multiple stages of treatment over the course of the patient’s lifetime. Sometimes, surgical treatment to restore the child’s jaw position begins during late childhood or early adolescence. This will depend on the severity of the child’s condition, your dental team, and your surgeon. Surgical treatment by using a rib graft or mandibular distraction may be performed in certain cases. Children with both sides of their face and ears affected will have difficulty hearing and may benefit from a bone anchored hearing aid (BAHA). Our speech language therapist and ENT surgeon can help evaluate your child’s need for this device and any other speech concerns.

What else should I know about this procedure?

As a cleft and craniofacial specialist, Dr. Aboutanos is qualified and ready to care for your child as your child grows and develops. She is a member of the accredited Cleft and Craniofacial Team at St. Mary’s Hospital, and she will help coordinate your child's care with other specialists in a multi-disciplinary manner.