The Center for Craniofacial Care at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at Virginia Commonwealth University serves as the primary focal point for the care of children with craniofacial differences. Our mission is threefold: to provide comprehensive, coordinated care that is accessible and responsive to the needs of our patients and families; to advocate for our families’ health care, emotional, and social needs; and to improve the quality of care for children with craniofacial conditions through clinical, translational, and basic science.
Having a child with unique needs may require the involvement of different specialists working together to evaluate and develop an individualized and coordinated treatment plan for each patient. Children may need multiple surgical procedures to address the function and appearance of the face and head due to the complex nature of various craniofacial conditions. Our team will follow your child and guide you as your child grows and develops. Our care continues for as long as required because we realize that as children become adults, their specialized health care may need to continue.
Our multidisciplinary team for children with craniofacial differences including craniosynostosis, craniofacial syndromes, Chiari malformation and plagiocephaly includes pediatric specialists from: Audiology, Otolaryngology, Nursing, Care Coordination, Speech/Language Pathology, Occupational Therapy, Genetics, Psychology, Neuropsychology, Dentistry, Orthodontics, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Ophthalmology, Radiology, Plastic/Craniofacial Surgery and Neurosurgery. Orthotists are utilized for provision of helmets. Two full time patient care coordinators are available to serve as central points of contact, providing assistance and support and facilitating appointments and requests for the convenience of our families and to insure that all providers are working together for the best possible outcomes for every child.
The Center for Craniofacial Care provides all options for treatment for craniosynostosis including open vault cranial vault expansion/remodeling, fronto-orbital advancement, minimally invasive endoscopic remodeling with helmet therapy, and posterior cranial vault distraction.
The minimally invasive or endoscopic option involves removal of the involved fused suture through one or two smaller incisions using an endoscope, microscope or high magnification Loupes. No reshaping is done in surgery. A helmet in the postoperative period will contour the head shape which will be measured about three to four days after surgery with our orthotists. This may be a treatment option if your baby is 6 months or younger. After 6 months, a baby’s head does not grow as fast and helmets are not as effective.
The goal of craniosynostosis surgery is to expand the volume of the skull, thereby relieving pressure on the brain. This also creates a normal head shape. The operation is called “open cranial vault remodeling.” Surgery is performed by the craniofacial surgeon and the pediatric neurosurgeon working together. Working efficiently together as a team, the surgeons are able to reduce the amount of time a child requires under anesthesia. Average surgical times at our hospital are around 3 hours. At our center, only specially trained pediatric anesthesiologists experienced in craniosynostosis work with our children.
Options for treatment will be discussed with you based upon your surgical consultations and the results of diagnostic and imaging studies specific to your child. All major commercial insurance policies are accepted including Medicaid and Tricare.