| Cleft &
The Cleft & Craniofacial Center provides pediatric specialty care for children with facial differences from throughout the Midwest. These differences may include cleft lip or cleft palate, syndromes of the face and head and trauma injuries.
We believe every child is unique. Each child has needs unlike any other. As parents, you are the most important person in your child's life. You know his or her needs best. We hope you will work with us in planning your child's care. Together, you and our team will provide the individual pieces in the total picture of your child’s health.
No one specialist can provide the range of care your child needs. But your child's treatment can be met through a team of professionals. Our team approach results in the timely involvement of all essential disciplines. A clinical nurse specialist will coordinate your child’s care through the system.
Our multi-disciplinary care team consists of:
- clinical nurse specialist/coordinator
- ear, nose and throat specialist (otolaryngologist)
- oral surgeon
- pediatric dentist
- physical therapist
- plastic surgeon
- primary care doctor
- speech therapist
As one of the premier cleft and craniofacial centers in the Midwest, we pride ourselves on our differentiating features, including:
- confidential diagnosis and treatment, based on the most current research
- convenient, family-oriented program
- supportive and educational environment
- comprehensive, long-term emotional and physical care
- coordinated, one-on-one multi-disciplinary approach
- compassionate, holistic care
The care provided to children and families includes the following services:
Cleft Lip and Palate
Cleft lip and cleft palate are among the most common birth defects. About one in 700 newborns has a cleft lip, cleft palate or both. At the Cleft and Craniofacial Center, we offer a comprehensive approach. We can begin care before or at the time of the baby’s birth. We will meet with you to discuss your child’s individual needs.
The repair of the cleft lip usually occurs at 3 months of age. A child may have a cleft lip on one side of the mouth, called a unilateral cleft lip. If the cleft lip is on both sides of the mouth, it is called a bilateral cleft lip.
A child with a cleft palate can also have the palate on one side, which is called a unilateral cleft palate or on both sides, which is called a bilateral cleft palate. The repair of a cleft palate usually occurs at 12 to 18 months.
The CentraCare Cleft Palate Team has been designated as a Cleft Palate Team (CPT) by the Commission on Approval of Teams (CAT). The 4-year designation assures patients and families that the CentraCare Cleft Palate team provides high quality care, meeting the standards set forth by the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association and Cleft Palate Foundation.
Hemangiomas and Vascular Malformations
Hemangiomas are the most common tumor of infancy. They usually are not present at birth. They appear during the first months of a child's life. They look like a "strawberry" rising from the skin. Hemangiomas will usually disappear, but our team should make an evaluation. Sometimes medical or surgical intervention is needed for complications. Complications may include bleeding, disfigurement, or interference with vision and breathing.
Craniosynostosis is a medical term for the premature closure of the seams where the bones of the skull come together. It can be seen as uneven or restricted growth of the skull. Surgical intervention can begin as early as 2 to 3 months of age. The operation opens the sutures in the skull that have prematurely closed.
Misshapen heads may be caused from an infant lying on his or her back for a long period of time. Or it may occur from the position the baby was lying in within the uterus. Early evaluation is important both to treat the condition and to prevent its progression. The Cleft & Craniofacial Center offers non-invasive home helmet or headband therapy. A pediatric craniofacial surgeon oversees the program.
Torticollis is an abnormal neck posture where the neck muscles become shortened. The tightening of the muscles causes the head to tilt to the affected side with the chin pointing to the other side. The condition may be congenital or acquired.
Various interventions can prevent and improve torticollis. The pediatric physical therapist will evaluate your child. He or she will set up a program based on your child’s needs. If the torticollis involves a misshapen head, a craniofacial surgeon will assess your child’s need for a helmet.
Velopharyngeal dysfunction may be caused by improper closure of the palate. It may be identified by nasal emission of air during speech or by regurgitation of food. Your team will assist with diagnosis and treatment.
Trauma injuries may occur to the face, skull or neck. We provide treatment to your child both right away and on an ongoing basis.
Craniofacial syndromes include Aperts, Crouzons, Pfieffer, Treacher-collins and others. They are all defined by skull and mid-face deformities (including hypertelorbitism and flat nasal bridge), fusion or webbing of the digits and other abnormalities. These syndromes may be life-limiting or life-threatening. Our team is essential for specialized evaluation of your child. We also can arrange genetic testing, counseling or a comprehensive evaluation with our pediatric geneticist.
We understand the needs of children with craniofacial differences can be complex. We are proud that over the years our program has provided thousands of families with support and hope. The Cleft and Craniofacial Center accepts referrals for evaluation, consultation and treatment of any child from prior to birth to 21 years old. Many conditions can be diagnosed prenatally - at the St. Cloud Hospital Perinatology Clinic, at the time of birth or in infancy. Please contact our clinical nurse specialist/coordinator, and leave a message. She will assist you with your questions and needs.
We offer activities to children with craniofacial differences and their families. These events allow families to network with one another, share experiences and provide encouragement for the future. Please contact us for information on upcoming events.
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Pediatrics Unit (320) 255-5742
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Cleft & Craniofacial Center (320) 229-5139
Infant & Child Development Clinic /
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Pediatric Short Stay & Infusion Unit / Pediatric Cancer Services (320) 229-4923
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