What is a Craniofacial Team?
A Craniofacial Team is a multidisciplinary group of medical professionals that aim to comprehensively treat patients born with craniofacial differences. This includes Cleft Lip and Palate, Craniosynostosis, and Apert Syndrome among other conditions. A patient born with a cleft can have a series of procedures including plastic surgery, bone grafting, speech therapy and orthodontic treatment. A team of qualified and experienced professionals can better manage, coordinate and treat the complex nature of these conditions. The American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association (ACPA) has a series of standards for what qualifies as a Craniofacial Team. At a very minimum, each team must have a surgeon, speech-language pathologist and orthodontist. These three disciplines are really the foundation of every team. The surgeon may either be a plastic surgeon or an oral and maxillofacial surgeon who specializes in craniofacial surgery. Despite only needing three core professionals, the team must have access to other specialists such as psychologists, social workers, audiologists, geneticists, pediatric dentists, pediatricians and otolaryngologists (ENTs). This means that the team might not have a psychologist with them in clinic, but they know of several in the community to recommend to patients. The frequency of team meetings and team rotation days depends on the volume of patients to treat and the resources at the hospital. For example, some teams may meet every Thursday for Craniofacial Clinic while others may meet just twice a month. Craniofacial Clinic may consist of patient appointments in the morning and team meetings in the afternoon. In these team meetings patient cases are reviewed so that treatment timelines can be coordinated between the different disciplines. For example, the orthodontist may review the bone grafting with the surgeon before the patient has braces. Moreover, team members may recommend referrals to other disciplines such as the psychologist or social worker. I hope this helps your understanding of a Craniofacial Team. Please check out the ACPA at the following link for more [...]