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Conditions We Treat: Craniofacial Syndromes

Craniofacial syndromes happen when the soft plates of a baby’s skull close too soon or in an unusual way. There are hundreds of different craniofacial syndromes, and the experts at Johns Hopkins have knowledge of them all and experience in treating even the most challenging craniofacial abnormalities.

Craniofacial Syndromes: Why Choose Johns Hopkins?

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  • At Johns Hopkins, your child will benefit from the combined insights of neurosurgeons, pediatric craniofacial plastic surgeons, geneticists and occupational therapists, among others, who join together to review your child’s unique needs and develop the treatment plan.
  • Our Pediatric Neurosurgery Center has access to the full range of diagnostic methods and effective treatments.
  • If surgery is recommended for your child’s arachnoid cyst, you will find a dedicated and compassionate environment for healing at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, which offers comprehensive care and support for the entire family as well as the individual child.
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Craniofacial Syndrome Treatments

There are hundreds of craniofacial syndromes that can affect infants and children, including:

  • Apert syndrome
  • Craniosynostosis
  • Crouzon syndrome
  • Microtia
  • Pfeiffer syndrome
  • Pierre Robin sequence
  • Saethre-Chotzen syndrome
  • Sturge-Weber syndrome
  • Treacher Collins syndrome
  • and many others

At Johns Hopkins, children with craniofacial syndromes and their families benefit from the involvement of multiple specialties in reviewing each child’s case. Neurosurgeons, pediatric craniofacial plastic surgeons, geneticists, occupational therapists and others join together to develop the treatment plan.

The team may recommend surgery to correct the physical formation of the cranial and facial bones and maximize the function for the child. Most of these surgeries are very intensive, requiring removal, recontouring and replacement of the skull. Often the pediatric neurosurgeon performs the surgery in conjunction with a pediatric craniofacial plastic surgeon.

Johns Hopkins pediatric neurosurgeons are fellowship-trained in endoscopic approaches to these kinds of restoration surgeries. Endoscopic approaches can provide a simpler and faster technique that may minimize blood loss and complications. In addition, the recovery time is reduced for the patient. There is minimal scarring and a decreased chance for requiring a blood transfusion.

These minimally invasive procedures may require follow-up treatment with helmet therapy to gently mold the head shape over time. In the end, the baby’s head attains a natural shape.

In some cases, the team may perform a reconstruction procedure to reshape the skull. Many different techniques are available to the surgeon to secure the bones at the end of the operation, once the reshaping of the skull has taken place. In addition to surgical sutures and wires, very fine plates and screws can be used. These materials are often too small to be felt under the skin.

Craniofacial Abnormality Specialists

Our experts have years of experience in managing craniofacial malformations in children. Together our doctors, surgeons and advanced practitioners will formulate a treatment plan tailored to your child’s unique situation.

Dr. Alan CohenDr. Alan Cohen, Director of the Pediatric Neurosurgery Center


Alan R. Cohen, M.D.
Mari Groves, M.D.
Eric M. Jackson, M.D.
Shenandoah Robinson, M.D.

Advanced Practitioners

Stephanie Berry, P.A.-C
Kelly Hartnett, P.A.-C.
Heather Kerber, P.A.-C.


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Pediatric Neurosurgery: 410-955-7337


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