Craniofacial Microsomia — Diagnosis and Treatment
This week Disability Living is blogging about disfiguring birth defects; a common birth defect is craniofacial microsomia. In fact, craniofacial microsomia is the second most common birth defect. If you are unfamiliar with this disfiguring disability, visit http://www.disabilityliving.ca/disability-canada-what-is-hemifacial-microsomia/ to learn about it.
How is craniofacial microsomia diagnosed?
Craniofacial microsomia (otherwise known as hemifacial microsomia) is a birth defect that impacts the appearance and functionality of the face. Researchers are not totally sure what causes this disability. Craniofacial microsomia is a condition that can seriously affect a person physically, emotionally and socially.
Craniofacial microsomia is usually diagnosed by geneticists. A diagnosis of this birth defect often entails x-rays and CT scans, which help health care professionals assess the severity of the condition. “Because the spectrum of severity is so wide, the diagnosis should come from an experienced geneticist skilled in diagnosing craniofacial anomalies.”
What treatments are available to those who have craniofacial microsomia?
Fortunately there are treatment options for those who have craniofacial microsomia. One of the key treatments for people with craniofacial microsomia is facial reconstruction. This type of treatment is especially helpful to those whose mouth/jaw has been seriously altered by the birth defect.
Under-developed ears can also be reconstructed. A child usually must be at least 6 years old before ear reconstruction is appropriate. As a child matures, other surgeries may be needed to reconstruct the face and restore its utility. For example, “further surgery in the soft tissue of the cheek to increase symmetry, or possibly jaw surgery, may be needed when a child reaches adolescence.”
How was your child’s hemifacial microsomia treated and diagnosed?
Does your child have hemifacial microsomia? If yes, how was he or she diagnosed with the birth defect? What treatments were immediately administered, and what treatments had to wait for your child to reach a certain age? We value your experiences and thoughts, so feel free to comment on this Disability Living blog post today.