What is hemifacial microsomia?
Hemifacial microsomia and craniofacial microsomia are congenital disorders that affect the growth of one half of the face, most commonly the ears, the mouth and the mandible (lower jaw). Often there are quite significant asymmetries in the size of the jaw or eye orbits, and the ears are often involved as well. It is the second most common birth defect after lip and palate clefts and shares many similarities with Treacher Collins syndrome.
What is the surgical treatment of Hemifacial Microsomia?
Treatment consists of procedures to correct or improve the associated problems found in hemifacial microsomia. Often lengthening or reconstructing the lower jaw to improve chewing and the fit of the teeth is needed. Distraction osteogenesis of the bones is often used here for this purpose. Repositioning of the orbits is occasionally necessary depending on the severity of the orbital asymmetries in order to improve facial appearance.
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Strabismus (eye muscle) surgery is also often needed in some with hemifacial microsomia, especially if an orbit repositioning is performed. Ear reconstruction or otoplasty is also part of the treatment plan for some patients with this condition. The ear surgery may be quite a small correction or sometimes involves reconstructing the entire ear to match as well as possible the “normal” ear.