Children's Hospital Colorado
Craniofacial Center

Hemifacial Microsomia (Goldenhar Syndrome)

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What is hemifacial microsomia?

Hemifacial microsomia, also known as first and second branchial arch syndrome, craniofacial microsomia, oculo-auriculo-vertebral sequence or Goldenhar syndrome, is a condition characterized by abnormalities of the face. Phenotypic variability is great; however, the ear and jaw are most commonly affected. The eye, cheekbone and skull may also be involved. Intelligence is usually normal. Conductive or sensorineural hearing loss may occur. Individuals with the above abnormalities and epibulbar dermoids (benign cysts) and vertebral abnormalities may have Goldenhar syndrome, a diagnosis similar to hemifacial microsomia.

Who gets hemifacial microsomia?

Hemifacial microsomia is a rare congenital craniofacial condition that occurs in 1 of 5,600 newborn babies. It most often occurs sporadically, meaning that the condition is only rarely inherited. A parent with hemifacial microsomia has a 2-3% chance of passing the condition to a child.

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