Hemifacial microsomia is a congenital disorder that affects the development of the lower half of the face, most commonly the ears, the mouth and the lower jaw. It can occur on one or both sides of the face. In severe cases, this condition may obstruct the trachea (windpipe) and cause difficulties in breathing.
Causes of Hemifacial Microsomia
It is thought that hemifacial microsomia is caused by a disturbance of the blood flow to the face, which restricts the development of the infant's face during early pregnancy. The earlier the impact occurs in fetal development, the greater the chance of a problem.
Hemifacial Microsomia Treatment
Treatment is guided by the specific abnormalities found in each case, and often includes plastic repair of ear and facial malformations. Craniofacial surgery will be employed to create greater facial symmetry, which may involve:
- Realignment of the lower and upper jaw
- Reconstruction of the ear
- Work to establish normal joint function
- Adding soft tissue where needed
- Oral surgery to normalize the alignment of the teeth of the upper and lower jaws
The possibility of hearing loss will be evaluated and appropriately treated, if it is present in your child. In most cases, significant heart, eye and spine abnormalities can be excluded by history and physical examination. Renal and urinary tract anomalies can be evaluated by ultrasound for potentially treatable anomalies. Developmental delay is an indication for cerebral imaging. In each case, our surgeons will develop a thorough, multi-part surgical plan for your child, which we will go over with you in detail.