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Craniofacial Program

When you visit

What will happen when you and your child visits SickKids?

Clinic Visit(s)

Your child will likely have regular appointments at The Hospital for Sick Children with different members of the Craniofacial team and possibly with other specialists from other programs such as Ophthamology or ENT. These appointments are usually done on an outpatient basis, and will be coordinated by the Centre for Craniofacial Care and Research. We will do our best to coordinate appointments on the same day, although this is not always possible. While we try our best to see patients and their families close to their appointment time, families often have to wait to be seen by their health care provider. Your continued patience with this is very much appreciated. We endeavour to address any and all issues, be they simple or complex, that your child and family may be experiencing at any given time. Unfortunately, this often takes considerable time that can mean long waiting times. Be assured that you and your child will receive the full attention of the team members when you are being seen in the clinic setting. While you are waiting for your appointment in the Plastic Surgery Clinic there is a computer terminal where you and your child can learn about SickKids and the Centre for Craniofacial Care and Research. You can also view videos abut children undergoing surgery for various craniofacial conditions. You may also find it helpful to bring along some of your child's favorite play things, bottle, etc, to keep him or her comfortable during your wait.

It is important to know that SickKids is a teaching hospital. This means that health care providers such as doctors, nurses and other health care professionals receive part of their training in a hospital setting. Important members of the Craniofacial team are medical students, surgical residents and fellows who will participate in the care of your child.

Team Assessments

Children with craniofacial conditions will undergo thorough assessments by trained specialists and health care providers on a regular basis through the Centre for Craniofacial Care and Research at The Hospital for Sick Children. Members of the Craniofacial team will assess your child’s growth and development in relation to their medical condition, identify concerns, and together decide on a comprehensive plan of care for your child. Depending on the number of specialists your child needs to see, the team assessment may occur over a several days. Following the team assessment, you and your family pediatrician will receive a summary of the findings of the team and the plan for your child. This information will have been communicated with you during your visit to the centre.

Surgery

Surgery can be an anxious time for children with craniofacial conditions and their families. Your child’s Plastic Surgeon, along with the Craniofacial Program Coordinator will provide you with information about the surgery, your child’s hospital stay and what you can anticipate while your child is an inpatient in the hospital. The social worker can provide you and your child with important information that may help prepare you and your child for the surgery and hospitalization, both emotionally and practically. In addition, The Hospital for Sick Children has a Pre-Surgical Program for children, which helps them understand what surgery is, while alleviating their fears or concerns. This information will be provided to you once a surgical date has been scheduled for your child and will be included in your pre-surgical package that will be mailed to you.

Hospitalization

After surgery your child will be in hospital for several days. Parents are encouraged to stay with their child in hospital. Your child will have his/her own hospital room on 8C (Plastic Surgery Unit) and one or two parents can stay the night during the hospital stay. Nurses are skilled at caring for children with craniofacial conditions, and can provide you and your child with support throughout the hospital stay. Your child’s Craniofacial Surgeon will monitor your child throughout their hospitalization. Your child’s Plastic Surgeon, and Nurses caring for your child after his/her surgery will help to ensure that pain is managed effectively.  

What Happens After Surgery?

After being discharged from hospital after surgery, children will be closely monitored by the Craniofacial Surgeon to ensure that there are no complications. If necessary, your child may be given medicine to help manage any post operative pain at home.  

Follow-Up Care

Depending on your child's age and craniofacial condition, he or she will continue to come to SickKids for regular team assessments to assess and plan for surgical, developmental, psychosocial or other needs for your child.

Families may also request to see other members of the team while their child is being cared for at SickKids. 

Ongoing Care

Information about your child's care at SickKids will be shared with your family doctor or pediatrician. Typically, children with craniofacial conditions are cared for regular childhood illnesses like colds, ear infections, bumps and bruises and so forth through their own family doctors or pediatricians.  

Northern Ontario Outpatient Clinics

Every Fall the Craniofacial Program, Cleft Lip and Palate Program and the dental staff from the Bloorview MacMillan Centre organize and attend 2 Northern Ontario Clinics (in Sudbury and Thunder Bay). This reduces the number of visits to the Hospital for Sick Children for many of our families and allows them the opportunity of being seen in their own community. These clinics provide the team (Craniofacial surgeons, Plastic surgeons, Dentists, Orthodontists, Prostodontists, Speech Language Pathologists, Audiologists, Nurses Coordinators, Social Workers) the opportunity to assess patients, plan for future surgeries, assessments and to liase with health care professionals in the community. If you and your family reside close to one of these cities you will likely be followed up in one of our annual Northern Clinics.