Children's Hospital Colorado

What to Expect Before, During and After Craniofacial Surgery

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



Before your child's craniofacial surgery

A craniofacial plastic surgeon and neurosurgeon will see your child at the outpatient clinic at Children's Hospital Colorado. An advanced practice nurse will help coordinate your care if you are also scheduled to see other specialists.

The multidisciplinary craniofacial team is available to your child for comprehensive diagnosis, evaluation and treatment planning. At these appointments, you will have the opportunity to learn about your child's condition, review any blood work or imaging, and ask questions.

If surgery is planned for your child, you will be scheduled for a preoperative visit with the nurse practitioner for a history and physical. Blood tests for clotting and blood type will be performed at that time. You may also schedule a hospital tour and/or surgery preparation tour prior to the procedure.

The day of craniofacial surgery

On the day of surgery, you will meet with the anesthesia team as well as the surgeons involved in your child's care. A nurse will periodically update you while your child is in surgery. Once the procedure is completed, the surgeons will come talk to you. Your child will go from the post-anesthesia recovery room to a private room or to the ICU for monitoring. The nurses will provide education and guidance about all of the hospital equipment involved in your child's care.  Medication will be provided through an IV and your child may have a temporary drain to collect any extra fluid from the surgical site.

After craniofacial surgery

Your child will spend approximately two to five days in the hospital before being discharged home. We will teach you how to care for the incision and provide postoperative instructions.

Your child's sleeping and eating habits may be disrupted for four to six weeks after surgery, but should gradually return to normal.  Pain control at home is usually by mouth with over-the-counter acetaminophen and/or ibuprofen, but may be supplemented by a prescription narcotic medication if needed.

Follow-up appointments and care

We will schedule a follow-up appointment one to two weeks after discharge in the Craniofacial Clinic. We will check the incision(s) and make sure all is healing well.  Subsequent appointments will likely be at one month, three months, six months and one year. You will be seen yearly thereafter, unless further surgery is planned or questions arise.

Contact us

If there are ever any questions or concerns, the Craniofacial Team can be reached at 720-777-5578.