Craniofacial Reconstruction

Surgery to Repair Deformities of the Face and Head

Craniofacial reconstruction involves the skull (cranium), as well as the brain, nerves, eyes, and facial skin and bones. Both a neurosurgeon and a plastic surgeon are required.

Reasons for Craniofacial Reconstruction

Primary candidates for craniofacial reconstruction are people who:

  • Have birth defects
  • Have experienced severe injuries to the head, face or jaws
  • Exhibit deformities caused by the removal of tumors.

Of the birth defects treated, some of the more common include: Crouzon’s disease, characterized by widely spaced eyes, defective bone development, protrusion of the eyeball, a wasting away or decrease in the size of the eyeball and squinting; Apert’s syndrome, a condition marked by a peaked head, as well as webbed fingers and toes; and hypertelorism, marked by abnormal width between the eyes.

FAQ About Craniofacial Reconstruction in Orange County

The following are answers to basic questions about craniofacial reconstruction in Orange County. To learn more, please contact UCI Plastic Surgery by email or phone.

Why should I choose UCI Plastic Surgery for craniofacial reconstruction?

At UCI Plastic Surgery, Dr. Daniel C. Jaffurs and Dr. Raj Vyas specialize in craniofacial surgery. They are particularly interested in such areas as genetic causes of craniofacial abnormalities, pediatric plastic surgery and cleft lip/cleft palate repair. Dr. Jaffurs uses advanced techniques in distraction osteogenesis for the treatment of congenital defects. Outside of pediatric surgery, Dr. Jaffurs is also interested in reconstructive surgery for adults affected by facial trauma.

How do I prepare for craniofacial reconstruction?

As common sense would dictate, the patient should eat sensibly, get plenty of rest and cultivate a positive attitude prior to surgery. You should discuss the surgery with family and friends, as well as anyone else who might be affected by your absence during convalescence. And, of course, consult with the physician regarding any further advice or prohibitions and any questions you might have.

What happens during surgery?

The surgery, which may take from four to fourteen hours, is conducted under general anesthesia. Some of the facial bones are cut and repositioned to create a more normal structure. Bone grafts may be taken from the ribs, pelvis or skull to fill in spaces where bone has been removed from the head and face. Small metal plates and screws may be inserted to hold these bones in place, and the jaw may be wired together to position the bone grafts.

If the surgery is expected to cause excessive swelling of the face, mouth or neck, an airway tube is often used. This tube may be placed directly into the airway via incision to the neck, thereby facilitating breathing.

What are the risks of craniofacial reconstruction?

Like any surgery, craniofacial reconstruction patients run the risk of infection and excessive bleeding. As with any use of anesthesia, difficulty breathing and an adverse reaction to the anesthetic agent may occur for some patients. Additional risks specific to craniofacial reconstruction include permanent scarring, partial or complete loss of bone grafts, nerve damage and the need for additional surgery.

What should I expect during recovery?

Depending on the extent of the surgery and the need for post-surgery monitoring, the patient may spend the first two days following surgery in the intensive care unit. Barring complications, the patient will be able to leave the hospital within the first week. Complete healing and resumption of normal activities may take up to six weeks.

For more information regarding craniofacial reconstruction in Orange County, please contact the plastic surgeons of UCI Plastic Surgery today. We are located in the city of Orange, CA, convenient for residents of Los Angeles, Irvine, Anaheim and other communities of Southern California.