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Hemifacial Microsomia

What is Hemifacial Microsomia?

  • A condition in which part of one side of the face is underdeveloped and does not grow normally (the eye, ear, cheekbone, lower jaw, facial nerves, muscles, and neck may be affected)
  • May include hearing loss from underdevelopment of the middle ear; a small tongue; and macrostomia (largemouth).
  • Sometimes this may affect both sides of the face.
  • Hemifacial microsomia is also called craniofacial microsomia.

What causes Hemifacial Microsomia?

  • The cause of HFM in most cases is unknown.
  • It usually occurs in people with no family history of HFM, but it is inherited in some cases.

What is the treatment for Hemifacial Microsomia?

  • Depending on which structure is affected, surgery may be required. 
  • If impairing feeding or speech, such as a cleft palate, then the surgery is performed in the first year of life.
  • If affecting hearing, early surgical intervention or hearing aides may be needed.
  • If affecting asymmetry of the facial appearance, these surgeries may occur during teenage years when the skeleton is more mature.
  • Some children need breathing support or a tracheostomy soon after birth if the jaw is severely affected. In most cases, airway problems can be managed without surgery.
  • Those with a jaw deformity and/or cleft may have feeding problems and may need supplemental feedings through a feeding tube to support growth and weight gain.

What is the prognosis for patients with Hemifacial Microsomia?

  • Prognosis is excellent, but requires frequent monitoring in order to intervene and provide medical treatment at the correct age of development.