​Craniofacial Malformation (Craniofacial Anomalies)

What is a Craniofacial Malformation?

Craniofacial malformations are some of the most common structural birth defects.

What causes craniofacial malformations?

Craniofacial malformations often are the result of genetic disorders and may be associated with developmental and functional abnormalities, such as:

  • Abnormal brain growth
  • Hearing loss
  • Difficulty with breathing, chewing, swallowing, and speech

Sometimes referred to as craniofacial anomalies, craniofacial malformations range from cleft lip and palate to congenital growths and tumors, as well as complex craniofacial dysostosis and encephaloceles, in which the bones in the skull and face fuse abnormally.

Treatment for these complex conditions may involve many specialties, including neurosurgery.

When appropriate, UPMC surgeons may use the Endoscopic Endonasal Approach (EEA) to reach and correct certain craniofacial malformations.

This innovative, minimally invasive technique uses the nose and nasal cavities as natural corridors to access hard-to-reach or previously inoperable areas.

EEA offers the benefits of:

  • No incisions to heal
  • No disfigurement
  • Faster recovery times

Diagnosing Craniofacial Malformation

Doctors can diagnose craniofacial malformations through imaging studies, such as:

  • X-rays
  • MRI scans
  • CT scans

Craniofacial Malformation Treatments

Treatment depends on the type of craniofacial malformation.

Craniofacial surgery corrects congenital defects of the skull or injuries to the bone and neck. These procedures require patients to undergo general anesthesia.

Innovative surgery for craniofacial malformations and anomalies

For certain craniofacial malformations, UPMC surgeons use the Endoscopic Endonasal Approach (EEA).

This innovative surgical approach allows surgeons to access the base of the skull and top of the spine by operating through the nose and sinuses without making incisions to the face or skull.

The benefits of EEA include:

  • No incisions to heal
  • No disfigurement to the patient
  • Shorter recovery time
Endoscopic Endonasal Approach (EEA)
Pituitary Tumor Removal Using the Endoscopic Endonasal Approach (EEA) at UPMC