Cleft & Craniofacial Center Earns National Approval

The Cleft & Craniofacial Center of Children’s Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian/ Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital has been approved through 2020 as a Cleft Palate Team and Craniofacial Team by the Commission on Approval of Teams according to the Standards for Cleft Palate and Craniofacial Teams. This designation indicates that the team meets the high standards for Cleft Palate and Craniofacial Teams as set forth by the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association (ACPA) and Cleft Palate Foundation (CPF).

Although the center has already been an approved site since 1993, the new system of approval (as of 2014) entails a far more demanding set of requirements than before. According to Jeffrey A. Ascherman, MD, Director of the Craniofacial Center and Site Chief, Division of Plastic Surgery at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, the new requirements are highly rigorous. “Successful approval reflects the dedication and hard work on the part of every member of the team,” he says.

The Cleft & Craniofacial Center provides advanced care for children with facial conditions and complex facial deformities related to three main areas: congenital (birth) defects, trauma, and tumor or abnormal growth. Because children born with cleft or craniofacial conditions often have other complex health conditions as well, they are best managed by an interdisciplinary team of specialists including a surgeon, a pediatrician, a pediatric dentist, orthodontist, geneticist, otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat doctor, or ENT), an audiologist, a speech-language pathologist, a nurse to help with feeding problems and oversee care, and other specialists as needed.

Specific areas of expertise at the Cleft & Craniofacial Center include:

  • Cleft lip and palate
  • Swallowing, hearing, and speech difficulties due to cleft palate and velopharyngeal insufficiency
  • Facial clefting syndromes, including Treacher Collins syndrome
  • Craniosynostosis syndromes, including Crouzon and Apert syndromes
  • Branchial arch syndromes
  • Craniofacial trauma
  • Facial and jaw tumors and occlusal discrepancies
  • Dentofacial deformities and malocclusion
  • Congenital deformities of the eyelids, eye muscles, and tear ducts
  • Vascular growths and malformations, including hemangiomas

Members of the Craniofacial Center are at the forefront of research in the field, developing new treatments for speech disorders and new techniques to stimulate and promote cranial bone formation. They regularly publish articles, book chapters, and books, including one on soothing pain in children and another for mothers on providing medical care. Team members regularly organize and participate in non-profit surgical missions to other countries, including Honduras and China, to treat children with cleft lips, cleft palates and other craniofacial problems.

Learn more at or by calling (212) 305-4346.

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