As a Craniofacial Surgeon there are a wide array of diagnoses that patients and their families will present with to my office. I recognize that bringing a child in for a craniofacial evaluation can be a stressful experience for a family. My approach is to provide families with a clear diagnosis and then take the time to give detailed answers to all questions that they may have. When treatment is necessary, a plan which is tailored to each child's specific needs is adopted. Here are a few common diagnoses which may be seen in the office on a daily basis.
Positional Plagiocephaly: Positional Plagiocephaly occurs when external forces (such as sleeping supine) result in deformation of a child's skull. This can result in changes to the head shape such as flat head, bossing, brachycephaly or asymmetry. Conservative management is the mainstay of treatment, though some children will benefit from Helmet Therapy
Craniosynostosis: Craniosynostosis is the premature fusion of one or more of the cranial sutures of the skull. Under normal circumstances the cranial sutures allow the skull to accommodate the rapid growth of the brain which occurs in the first couple years of life. When one of these sutures closes or fuses too soon, the growth of cranium is limited in this area and results in pathologic changes to the child’s head shape. Craniosynostosis is treated with surgery. However there are many options which include both minimally invasive approaches and traditional cranial vault remodeling procedures. We offer all approaches at our Center.
Craniofacial Syndrome: A Craniofacial Syndrome is a complex presentation where not only is a child’s cranium affected but other portions of their facial skeleton may also be affected. In some instances there may be an underlying genetic abnormality and in others there may not be. In all cases children will benefit from an evaluation with a specialist who has experience with treating their specific syndrome. We have expertise in a wide range of procedures which may be helpful to children and adults with Craniofacial Syndromes.
Dr. Thomas Imahiyerobo’s areas of expertise include the treatment of cleft lip, cleft palate, craniosynostosis, frontal facial advancement and orthognathic (jaw) surgery. He is the Director of Cleft and Craniofacial Surgery in the Division of Plastic Surgery at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center. He also serves as the Co-Director of the Columbia/NYP Craniofacial Center at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, where he is committed to providing comprehensive, cutting-edge, compassionate care to patients of all ages with craniofacial differences.
A native of Boston, Massachusetts, Dr. Imahiyerobo received his B.A. from Harvard University where he graduated with honors, cum laude. After also receiving his M.D. from Harvard Medical School, Dr. Imahiyerobo entered the combined Plastic Surgery Residency at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia and New York Presbyterian/ Weill Cornell. During his residency, Dr. Imahiyerobo was the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Dicran Goulian award for academic excellence in Plastic Surgery, as well as the Weill Cornell Alumni Council award for Distinguished House Staff. During his final year of residency Dr. Imahiyerobo served as chief resident in Plastic Surgery and was recognized by NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital for his outstanding patient care. He then completed additional training in Craniofacial and Pediatric Plastic Surgery during his fellowship at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. While there, he was an integral part of one of the largest cleft and craniofacial teams in the country.
Dr. Imahiyerobo is the author of numerous academic publications. His work has been presented at both national and international meetings. He is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, The Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association, and The American Society of Maxillofacial Surgeons. He serves as a fellow of the American College of Surgeons as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics. His current research interest includes the use of Virtual Surgery Planning for the treatment of Craniosynostosis and Craniofacial Syndromes. He is also focused on outcomes research for cleft lip and palate surgery, as well as for endoscopic treatment of Craniosynostosis.
Columbia/NYP’s Craniofacial Center provides advanced care for children with facial conditions and complex facial deformities related to congenital (birth) defects, trauma, and tumors or abnormal growths. As part of the #1 medical center and children’s hospital in New York, we put a wide array of top-quality resources towards helping every child and family we see. Our program proudly meets the high standards for Cleft Palate and Craniofacial Teams as set forth by the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association (ACPA) and Cleft Palate Foundation (CPF).
Complete Care for All Craniofacial Issues
Our team has experience treating every form of craniofacial issue, at all levels of severity and complexity. Specific areas of expertise at the Cleft & Craniofacial Center include:
Cleft lip and palate
Swallowing, hearing, and speech difficulties due to cleft palate and velopharyngeal insufficiency
Facial clefting syndromes, including Treacher Collins syndrome
Craniosynostosis syndromes, including Crouzon and Apert syndromes
Facial and jaw tumors and occlusal discrepancies
Dentofacial deformities and malocclusion
Congenital deformities of the eyelids, eye muscles, and tear ducts
Vascular growths and malformations, including hemangiomas
A Commitment to Community
We don’t just perform surgeries on kids with craniofacial issues, we form lasting relationships with our patients and their families. That sense of community is important to us, and we frequently organize events so that members of our craniofacial family can meet each other, learn from one another, and support us all.
As leaders in our field, we also feel a responsibility to bring our expertise to the global community. Team members regularly organize and participate in non-profit surgical missions to other countries, including Peru, Honduras and China, to treat children with cleft lips, cleft palates and other craniofacial problems.
Members of the Craniofacial Center are at the forefront of research in the field, developing new treatments for speech disorders and new techniques to stimulate and promote cranial bone formation. They regularly publish articles, book chapters, and books, including one on soothing pain in children and another for mothers on providing medical care.