Hemifacial Microsomia in Children

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What is Hemifacial microsomia?

Hemifacial microsomia (HFM), also called craniofacial microsomia or sometimes "Goldenhar syndrome" is a condition in which half of one side of the face is underdeveloped and does not grow normally. “Hemifacial” means one side of the face. “Microsomia” means smallness.

The deformity in hemifacial microsomia can range from mild to severe, and the areas of the face that are affected also varies greatly from child to child. However, HFM always includes some degree of underdevelopment of the lower jaw (mandible).

Areas of the face that may be underdeveloped in HFM include:

  • Eye
  • External and middle ear
  • Side of the skull
  • Cheek tissue
  • Upper and lower jaws
  • Teeth
  • Some of the nerves that allow facial movement

The degree to which area of the face is affected varies widely, and some areas may not be affected at all.

Hemifacial microsomia calls for advanced care from a collaborative team that typically includes plastic and oral surgeons and dentists and orthodontists, among other specialists. At Boston Children’s, our Craniofacial team includes world-renowned specialists who are experts in treating HFM.

Hemifacial Microsomia: Why Choose Boston Children’s Hospital

Families seeking the very best care for their child come to the Craniofacial Program at Boston Children’s for our:

  • Nationally recognized care: U.S.News & World Report ranks Boston Children's Hospital higher in more specialties than any other children's hospital in the country.
  • World-Renowned Facial Reanimation Program: Children with facial nerve paralysis are treated by team of doctors with extensive training and experience in restoring the greatest possible degree of sensation and movement in a child’s face. Learn more about treating hemifacial microsomia.
  • Research and innovation: Our clinicians are involved in research that moves us closer to a better understanding of—and treatment for—all deformities of the head and face. Learn more about our craniofacial research.
  • Customized treatment: Our team will develop a customized treatment plan that meets all of your child’s needs—one that involves you and your family at every step of the treatment. Learn more about our approach to craniofacial treatment and care.

Boston Children’s Team Approach to Hemifacial Microsomia

Our Craniofacial Program includes some of the world’s most experienced craniofacial surgeons, plastic surgeons, oral and maxillofacial (jaw) specialists, dentistry professionals, psychologists and social workers—all working together to address the many needs of your child and your entire family.

At Boston Children’s, our:

  • Craniofacial surgeon and Oral/Maxillofacial surgeon will reconstruct the jaw, ear, and any other parts of your child's face.
  • Geneticist will counsel your family about the risks associated with geneitc inheritance of hemifacial microsomia.
  • Nurse coordinator will act as a liaison between your family and many specialists, providing you with answers to your questions every step of the way.
  • Ophthalmologist will evaluate your child's vision and eye movements.
  • Orthodontist will follows the jaw growth and alignment of your child’s teeth to assist the surgeon.
  • Otolaryngologist will assess your child's hearing abnormalities and coordinate middle ear surgery or hearing aids, if needed.
  • Speech therapist will evaluate your child's speech development and coordinate speech therapy, if necessary.
  • Social worker will assist you in obtaining resources and referrals in your community.

Meet our craniofacial team.

Make an Appointment

For an appointment with the Cleft and Craniofacial Center, more information or to obtain a second opinion for your child, please call us at 617-355-6309 or email samantha.hall@childrens.harvard.edu.

International Patients

For families residing outside of the United States, please call Boston Children's International Health Services at +01-617-355-5209.

The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

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