According to the World Health Organization, craniofacial abnormalities (CFAs), also commonly known as craniofacial syndromes or anomalies, are congenital deformities, abnormalities, or malformations affecting the structure of the skull and/or the facial bones? Many medical experts associate CFAs with genetics, environmental factors, and a combination of both.
The FACES National Craniofacial Association lists 30 different types of craniofacial disorders. However, some are more common in children, including cleft lip and/or cleft palate, and craniosynostosis.
Cleft lip and cleft palate
Of all the congenital craniofacial abnormalities in the United States – probably even around the world – the presence of both cleft lift and cleft palate is the most common. These occur when the lip and the palate (the mouth’s roof) separates.
A cleft lip develops when the lip does not undergo complete formation. Severity varies greatly. Children who have a mild cleft lip may only have a notching of their upper lip. Those who suffer from severe cases may have a huge opening from their upper lip that goes all the way up to their nose.
In people who have a cleft palate, the roof of their mouth is unable to close completely. This then creates an opening that can go up to their nasal cavity. The problem may occur in any of the palate’s sides. It can also start from the front of the mouth all the way to the throat.
When an infant’s sutures, or soft spots, in the skull close up before they should, craniosynostosis occurs. This can lead to developmental and growth problems with the baby’s brain and skull, Cranioutah.com explains. It may also cause too much pressure inside the child’s head, resulting in changes in the structure of the skull or facial bones.
Millions of babies all around the country suffer from one form of craniofacial defects at birth. Because these abnormalities need further research seeing as the exact causes remain a mystery, a number of established organizations conduct not only studies but also accept donations for craniofacial support. By supporting these organizations, you can help families with kids suffering from these anomalies get the treatment they need and deserve.