Children's facial abnormalities and injuries require special attention. A child's facial structure is continuously forming so future growth is impacted by the healing and recovery process after surgery. Both routine and more complex surgical repairs require expert surgical skills to help ensure that your child’s growth follows normal and expected patterns.

At Arkansas Children’s, our experts in craniofacial and pediatric plastic surgery provide compassionate and comprehensive surgical care for a range of craniofacial issues for children of all ages.

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The craniofacial, cleft, and pediatric plastic surgery specialists at Arkansas Children’s are skilled in the surgical management of congenital or acquired conditions or issues for children of any age.

We provide care for patients with congenital or traumatic deformities of the head and neck. In addition, we manage, burn scars, traumatically acquired wounds, facial trauma, hand congenital deformities, nevi, hand trauma, burn contracture and complex wounds/defects.

As the division of a Level 1 pediatric hospital, we provide our patients with multidisciplinary care. 

Possible Conditions

  • Severe under-bites, overbites  or jaw abnormalities requiring surgical intervention – Including distraction osteogenesis vs. standard advancement
  • Masses, scars or lesions anywhere on the face or scalp
  • Facial fractures or skull reconstruction (cranioplasty)
  • Soft tissue reconstruction of the body (breast reduction, chest wall reconstruction, extremity reconstruction)
  • Microtia/Anotia Repair
  • Ear Molding
  • Congenital and traumatic nasal deformities
  • Neonatal Mandibular Distraction for airway
  • Secondary burn reconstruction for contractures

Craniosynostosis and craniosynostosis syndromes

  • Crouzon Syndrome
  • Apert Syndrome
  • Pfeiffer Syndrome
  • Saethre-Chotzen Syndrome
  • Muenke Syndrome

Cleft lip and palate in infants

  • Primary cleft lip and palate surgery
  • Standard Timeline for Cleft Surgeries:
    • Cleft Lip repair at 2-4 months
    • Soft Palate Repair with Palatal Obturator at 9-12 months
    • Hard Palate and alveolar cleft repair with bone substitute at 16-24 months of age
    • Palatal Lengthening Procedure if needed for speech at 6-10 years of age
    • Intermediate Rhinoplasty if needed at 6 years of age
    • Jaw Surgery as needed from 12-18 years of age after Orthodontic Treatment
    • Final Revision Rhinoplasty from 14-18 years of age
  • Palatal lengthening for VPI
  • Palatal fistula repair
  • Orthognathic Surgery (Jaw Surgery for Patients with Cleft)
  • Revision Rhinoplasty

Meet the Team

The Craniofacial and Cleft Program at Arkansas Children’s is an approved American Cleft-Palate Craniofacial Association (ACPA) Program that serves the entire state of Arkansas and the surrounding region.

In addition to have a minimum of 3 years of plastic surgery training, of which approximately 25% is devoted entirely to cleft, craniofacial and pediatric plastic surgery, the plastic surgeons at Arkansas Children's have completed an additional year of specialty training in exclusively cleft and craniofacial surgery.

Our nationally renowned surgeons work in partnership with our pediatric surgical team and other pediatric specialists to provide advanced clinical care in an effective and caring manner.

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Contact Information

If you have a child with a congenital or traumatic abnormality or complex wound please feel free to contact our clinic. Our clinic is on the 3rd Floor of the Sturgis Building.

Appointments: 501-364-2344
Email: asburyad@archildrens.org

Clinic Days

 ACH (Little Rock) Wednesday   12 p.m. – 3 p.m.

 Mehta 
 ACH (Little Rock)  Thursday  7:45 a.m. – 3:15 p.m.  Mehta
 ACH (Little Rock)  Friday  7:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.  Yuen
 ACNW (Springdale)  3rd Thursday of each month  8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.  

Locations

Our highly-skilled craniofacial plastic surgeons are renowned leaders in pediatric craniofacial, cleft palate and other similar conditions. Our team consists of Plastic Surgery, Orthodontics, Dentistry, Otolaryngology, Speech, Audiology, Genetics, and Ophthalmology. Working together, we lessen the burden of each condition and prevent further damage. The complex craniomaxillofacial team has the same goal for our patients as their caregivers and loved ones do – for each child to have the very best quality of life possible.

Possible Treatments

Our clinical team provides the full spectrum of general plastic surgery with a strong focus on jaw surgery (upper, lower and chin). We use the latest technological advances to virtually and precisely plan the pediatric surgery before ever stepping foot in the operating room. Operative plans and computer simulations are shared with patients and families. These specially-trained professionals offer the full spectrum of cleft care, including:

  • Prenatal visits
  • Primary cleft lip and palate repair
  • Speech surgery
  • Revisional cleft surgery
  • Bone grafting
  • Jaw surgery
  • Rhinoplasty
  • Flap reconstructions stemming from burns, cancer or trauma
  • Breast reduction and reconstruction
  • Dermoid cysts
  • Nevi removal
  • Scar revisions

Clinical Research

Clinical research has played an integral role within the Craniofacial, Cleft, and Pediatric Surgery Department at Arkansas Children’s since its inception. The department research program has made major contributions in clinical investigation in the following areas:

  • A multi-department study of the genetic basis of craniofacial syndromes
  • Two large studies on endoscopic craniosynostosis repair and shunt-induced craniosynostosis

Papers and Publications on Pediatric Plastic Surgery

To share recent innovations in plastic surgery, experts at the Craniofacial, Cleft and Pediatric Plastic Surgery Department at Arkansas Children’s have prepared manuscripts on of the following topics:

  • Epidemiology of non-syndromic craniosynostosis
  • Outcomes of atypical Tessier facial cleft repair
  • Skeletal management of lymphatic epidemiology of non-syndromic craniosynostosis
  • Published Pubmed articles

Developing Innovative Medical School Curriculum

Together with ongoing research and discovery, our physician-scientists are dedicated to teaching the next generation of craniofacial specialists through the development of innovative medical school curriculum. Our team led the efforts for a new University of Arkansas Medical School College of Medicine course entitled Fundamentals of Suturing, which began in the fall of 2017.

Innovation: Technology-Based Innovative Approach to Craniofacial, Cleft and Plastic Surgery

Patients who visit Arkansas Children’s for craniofacial, cleft and plastic surgery services have access to the most superior surgical procedures in the world. Because our highly skilled pediatric surgeons work closely with a multidisciplinary team, new procedures are quickly transferred across clinical settings, offering our pediatric patients constantly improved therapeutic options.

High-Tech Virtual Surgery Planning for Jaw Surgery

At Arkansas Children’s, our craniofacial team uses high-tech virtual surgery planning for all of our jaw surgeries. By uploading a fine cut 3D computed tomography (CT) scan, laser scanning of the dental impressions and the patient’s images, our craniofacial surgeons meet with biomedical engineers via a webinar to explore difficult surgical options, all in the planning phase. Through this advanced technology, our team is able to see how the patient will look with surgery, for improved outcomes. In addition, our biomedical engineers can also print 3D precise cutting guides to make the actual surgery safer, more efficient and more accurate.

Innovations in Pediatric Plastic Surgery

Our pediatric plastic surgeons are distinguished experts in understanding and treating a broad range of pediatric craniofacial and cleft conditions, using the latest advancements in surgical techniques. Some significant advances include the following procedures:

  • Cleft related surgery from primary lip and palate repair to orthognathic surgery (fixed or distraction techniques to bring the upper and lower jaws into proper alignment and/or improve breathing and bite)
  • Craniofacial bone distraction to lengthen any bone in the face or skull to improve breathing, vision or brain growth
  • Facial fracture repair
  • Fronto-orbito advancement, cranial vault remodeling, and cranioplasty to provide adequate room for the growing brain while correcting shape
  • Soft tissue reconstruction of the face and chest area

As part of a collaborative education effort, our group has produced short videos that are published and available in a peer-reviewed online video surgical journal www.csurgeries.com. To view these surgeries, click on the links below. 

Refer a Patient

If you have clinically related questions or questions about referrals, please contact one of our team members, including:

  • Sagar Mehta, Director of Craniofacial Team, Pediatric Plastic Surgeon, at 501-364-2344
  • Samantha Snavely, Pediatric Plastic Surgery/Craniofacial Physician Assistant, at 501-364-2914
  • Tammy Roberson, Plastic Surgery Specialty Nurse, at 501-364-1958
We know the anxiety families must feel when a newborn or child needs plastic surgery for craniofacial, cleft or similar pediatric conditions. However, learning all you can about these conditions can help you understand your child’s situation and enable you to ask your doctor about any new developments in treatment. The following links provide the latest information on these important topics:

Virtual Surgery Simulators:

Facebook Support Groups:

Camp Laughter

In honor of National Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness Month, Arkansas Children’s hosts this annual event at Camp Aldersgate. The event typically lasts one-day and is for kids ages 5-18 with cleft and craniofacial differences. It’s a free camp designed for families to connect with other families who are going through similar situations. 

What is the mission/purpose of Camp Laughter? It’s a bonding time for parents and kids. Plus, it’s a place without any judgment, just FUN! Parents can meet other parents and discuss feelings and/or thoughts they have and be understood. Kids can meet other kids who look similar and feel included and welcome. It is a camp just for them! They are also able to interact with their cleft/craniofacial team specialists, which allows each child to see them as an everyday person and not just someone they associate with clinic visits and surgeries, therefore decreasing fear and anxiety with upcoming care.

What type of activities can campers expect? Kids start the day by participating in crafts, followed by a tribe meeting. They then break up into four groups for activities such as fishing, sling shot art, leather stamping and a petting zoo. They will finish the day with swimming, followed by an ice cream party and talent show.

How does Camp Laughter help kids understand their cleft or craniofacial differences? Camp empowers them to be happy and proud of who they are and allows them to know they are not alone. It also allows them to be reminded that having a cleft or craniofacial difference does not slow them down but they can achieve anything they set their minds to!

For more information, contact camplaughter@archildrens.org.

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