Hemifacial microsomia is a birth defect that affects the child’s entire face, with one side being smaller and the other side larger. In addition, because the cheekbone hasn’t grown properly, the cheek usually appears flat. Other characteristics include a shorter lower face and a smaller jaw. Treatment for hemifacial microsomia depends on how much of the child’s face has been affected. Surgery is typically required to address the asymmetry to help normalize appearance.
Holoprosencephaly is a common brain birth defect that occurs when the embryonic forebrain fails to sufficiently divide into the double lobes of the cerebral hemisphere. This results in a single-lobed brain structure and severe skull and facial defects, which can include closely spaced eyes, small head size, clefts of the upper lip or roof of the mouth, among others. Each child with HPE has a unique set of malformations and treatment must be individualized.
Noonan Syndrome is a genetic disorder that prevents normal development in various parts of a child’s body, including facial features. These include:
– Wide-set, down-slanting eyes with droopy lids and pale blue or green irises
– Low-set ears that are rotated backward
– Nose is depressed at the top, with a wide base and bulbous tip
– Mouth has a deep groove between the lips and nose, with wide peaks in the upper lip
– Crooked teeth
– Highly arched palate
– Small lower jaw
– Prominent forehead
Treacher Collins Syndrome is a genetic disorder that typically affects the size and shape of the ears, eyelids, cheekbones, and jaw. One of the most common craniofacial abnormalities of Treacher-Collins is a cleft palate. Symptoms include downward-slanting eyes, a very small jaw and chin, hearing loss, and vision loss. Treatment is focused on correcting facial structure.
Positional plagiocephaly – or flat head syndrome – develops when a baby’s head flattens on one side or in the back and is typically caused when s/he spends too much time sleeping on the same side. Indicators include:
– The back of the baby’s head is flatter on one side.
– One side of the baby’s head may be flatter than the other side.
– The baby usually has less hair on the part of the head that is affected.
– When looking down at the baby’s head, the ear on the flattened side may look pushed forward.