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Clinical geneticist examining boy

Craniofacial Program

The ColumbiaDoctors Craniofacial Program is part of a comprehensive program for the diagnosis, counseling, and treatment of a wide variety of craniofacial abnormalities (abnormalities of cranium, face, and neck). The genetics team is made up of a physician, 2 genetics fellows, and a genetic counselor, working collaboratively with a wider team of specialists.

Other members of the craniofacial team are plastic surgeons, neurosurgeons, ophthalmic surgeons (surgeons who manage malformations of the eye and related structures), faciomaxillary surgeons, orthodontists, dentists, speech therapists, and fellows from all these groups.

Some of the conditions we treat are: 

  •    Infants and children born with cleft lip/palate or cleft palate
  •    Premature craniosynostosis (premature fusion of bones of the skull)
  •    Defects of scalp, usually congenital
  •    Asymmetry of face
  •    Defects of eye and eyelids, such coloboma of eyelids( Notch at margin of lids due to incomplete formation)
  •    Defects of the nose
  •    Defects of the ears, usually underdeveloped, absent, or abnormal
  •    Abnormal jaws (most frequently underdeveloped lower jaw)
  •    Many of these conditions occur in combination with known genetic disorders: Cruzon, Apert, Goldehar, and Treacher Collins syndromes
  •   Children with all other unspecified craniofacial disorders

Our Approach to Craniofacial Care

The craniofacial group meets each month to see patients. Each member of this group meets separately with each family, examines the affected children, and answers parents’ questions. The whole group meets after the clinic to discuss each individual patient and made recommendations for care. 

The role of genetics is to determine the underlying cause the child, conditions and provide genetic counseling, including recurrence risks for future pregnancies. If adequate genetic testing has not been done, the families are invited to our genetic program for genetic testing and analysis. Our surgeons work closely together to provide the best care to patients, if surgery is necessary.

Our Patients

Many of the children are born at our hospital, but others come from New York City, Long Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, and upstate New York. We also see international patients. Many patients are referred by a physician, but many are self-referred. 

To make an appointment call:

Natalie Tavarez at 212-305-4346

Craniofacial Program Coordinator