Craniofacial

Craniofacial

About the service

Alder Hey Craniofacial Unit is one of 4 designated Supraregional Craniofacial Units in NHS England & Wales. 
We have the infrastructure, resources and an expert team of experienced specialists who will be involved with your child’s care and development throughout their childhood.

We are one of the highest volume craniofacial centres in the world and have long-term experience of treating children with craniofacial conditions.
Our team are invested in your child’s health and development, and we will support your child and your family through the journey. 

As children with craniofacial conditions can present with complex symptoms, we adopt a holistic approach to the care of our patients, ensuring the best quality of care every step of the way. As such, we have a multidisciplinary team of experts from various specialties. These include:

  • Neurosurgeons
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
  • Plastic Surgeons
  • Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeons
  • Clinical Geneticists
  • Speech and Language Therapists
  • Clinical Psychologists
  • Orthodontists
  • Paediatric Dentists
  • Respiratory Physicians
  • Anaesthetists
  • In-house Orthotic Helmet Therapists
  • Ophthalmic Surgeons

Your child will see some or all of these professionals at various time points in your child’s journey. 

Children with craniosynostosis will receive speech and language and neurodevelopmental assessments at strategic timepoints throughout their childhood. This allows us to monitor their progress and identify when extra support is required.

Some children will also see our Clinical Geneticist at a separate consultation to discuss the diagnosis, arrange further tests and considerations for the future. 

When your child reaches the age of 16 years old, they can choose to transition to the Adult Services based in Aintree University Hospitals or Walton Neurosurgery Centre. At both these hospitals, it will be the same team of surgeons who will look after you. Hence, you will receive continuity of care all the way through your lifetime. 

At Alder Hey Children’s Hospital Craniofacial Unit, we invest the highest quality of care to all our patients and ensure parents, families and carers are supported all the way through their child’s journey. 

Conditions we treat

Click here for a list of the conditions that the Craniofacial team treat.

How to refer

Please send referrals via post or email to our pathway coordinators at: craniofacial@alderhey.nhs.uk.

Contact us for any queries (details below). We may ask you to take photos of your child’s headshape. Please view the following instructions on taking photos of your child’s headshape

When to refer and timing of surgery

Babies should be referred as soon as an abnormality of the baby's head shape is suspected, and this may even be at the time of birth. Some craniosynostosis can be treated within the first few months of life. At Alder Hey Craniofacial Unit, through decades of experience and assessment of long-term outcomes, we propose various operations within certain time windows of a child's life.

  • Scaphocephaly – An early surgery when the child is below 6 months of age, or a later surgery between 18-24 months old. The earlier surgery can either be endoscopic surgery or a passive vault surgery, both of which are smaller and shorter operations compared to the later surgery which is a larger operation. Approximate time scales are:
    • 3-4 months old: Endoscopic strip craniectomy with helmet therapy for at least 12 months
    • 4-5 months old: Strip craniectomy and micro-barrel staving/Passive vault remodelling
    • 18-24 months old: Total calvarial remodelling
  • Trigonocephaly & Unicoronal synostosis - An early endoscopic surgery when the child is below 6 months of age or a larger surgery involving remodelling and advancing of the front of the skull and forehead at 18-24 months old.
  • Lambdoid synostosis - Surgery involving remodelling the back of the head at 18-24 months old. 
  • Multiple sutures fused – Your child will be assessed by a team of experts who will assess the benefits and risks of surgery and discuss the various options available to you and your child. 

If there are any queries, please feel free to contact our team. 

Contact Us

The Alder Hey Craniofacial Team consists of a dedicated group of nurse specialists, clinicians, and surgeons. We are here to support you, your child, and your family through this journey. 

We welcome calls from families, general practitioners, or any other healthcare professionals for all types of craniofacial conditions. 

For referrals or any further information, please contact us at:

Address: 
Alder Hey Children's NHS Foundation Trust
Craniofacial Unit
Eaton Road 
Liverpool L12 2ZP

Tel:
0151 282 4608

Email:
Craniofacial Pathway Co-ordinators
Craniofacial@alderhey.nhs.uk

Craniofacial Nurse Specialists
Jane England - Jane.England@alderhey.nhs.uk
Luci Russell - Luci.Russell@alderhey.nhs.uk 

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