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What Are Craniofacial Syndromes?

Craniofacial syndromes are deformities in the growth of the head and facial bones. These deformities are usually congenital, meaning babies have them at birth. Some of the craniofacial syndromes we treat include the following (among others):



Apert syndrome is when your child has an abnormal head shape, a small upper jaw, and their fingers and toes are fused together.


Crouzon is a birth defect that causes a child’s skull to be short in the front and back. Children with crouzon often also have flat cheek bones and a flat nose.


Goldenhar’s syndrome affects the development of the ear, nose, soft palate, and lip, causing these features to be undeveloped. It also affects the bones that form the lower jaw (mandible). 

Hemifacial Microsomia

This syndrome causes the lower half of a child’s face to be underdeveloped. It usually affects the ears, mouth, and the lower jaw.


Pfeiffer syndrome cause differences (or abnormalities) in a child’s skull, hands, and feet.


 The three main symptoms of this condition are a cleft palate, a small jaw, and airway obstruction. Airway obstruction is when something blocks your child’s airway, which causes breathing problems.


The symptoms of this syndrome can affect each child differently because it affects how the bones and tissues inside a child’s face develop. Most people with Treacher-Collins have underdeveloped facial bones and a small jaw and chin.

Craniofacial syndromes are complex. At University of Utah Health, our specialty-trained pediatric plastic surgeons have the extra experience necessary to help you and your child treat these syndromes. If you have any questions and would like an evaluation for your child, request a consultation today.

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