Children's Hospital Colorado

Your Visit to the Craniofacial Program

We collaborate with every specialty in the hospital to advance new surgical techniques, teach tomorrow’s surgeons and give our patients a brighter today.



Your initial visit with the craniofacial care team will help determine the best treatment for your child.  The craniofacial team also offers a multidisciplinary clinic that brings specialists from different departments to meet with patients and their families. The weekly clinic allows children and families to conveniently meet with several specialists – such as neurosurgeons and plastic surgeons – in one place on the same day.

Diagnosing and developing a treatment plan for craniofacial conditions

After a thorough physical exam and review of your child's test results and imaging, our craniofacial team develops a personalized treatment plan. The team’s plan may or may not include surgery, based on the most effective treatment for your child's condition.

Preparing for craniofacial surgery

If our experts determine that surgery is the right step for your child, a craniofacial plastic surgeon and neurosurgeon will determine the best plan. If your child does require surgery, they may need an imaging test such as a CT scan to confirm the diagnosis and plan for surgery. Our lab will also perform blood tests for clotting and blood type, and our radiology team will perform 3D imaging for presurgical and postsurgical evaluation. Prior to surgery, you may find it helpful to schedule a hospital tour and learn more about how to prepare for surgery at Children’s Hospital Colorado.

What to expect for your child’s craniofacial surgery

On the day of surgery, you and your child will meet with the anesthesia team as well as the surgeons involved in your child's care. A surgical nurse will periodically update you while your child is in surgery, and once the procedure is completed, the surgeons will speak to you about the surgery. Your child will go from the post-anesthesia recovery room to a private room for monitoring, or to the intensive care unit if recommended.  Medication is provided through an IV and by mouth, while your child may have a temporary drain to collect any extra fluid from the surgical site.

After your child’s craniofacial surgery

Your child may spend up to 5 nights in the hospital before being discharged home. Our nurses will provide further information and guidance about how to care for your child’s incision site and other post-operative instructions, in addition to a plan for follow-up care.

After surgery, your child's sleeping and eating habits may be disrupted for 4 to 6 weeks but should gradually return to normal. We usually recommend using over-the-counter acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help reduce pain but can provide prescription medication if needed.

Follow-up appointments and care after craniofacial surgery

We’ll schedule a follow-up appointment 1 to 2 weeks after surgery with the craniofacial team for a wound and incision site check to ensure they’re healing properly. If your child needs a cranial molding helmet, that may be scheduled at the same visit.  The next follow-up appointments will likely be scheduled at 4 to 6 weeks, then at 3 months, 6 months and 1 year. After that, we typically like to see patients once every year, unless further surgery is planned, or questions arise.

Contact us

For any questions or concerns, please contact the Craniofacial Program at 720-777-5578.