Hemifacial Microsomia

Hemifacial microsomia, also known as first and second branchial arch syndrome or craniofacial microsomia, is a common congenital condition. Hemifacial microsomia is considered the most common facial birth defect after clefts. Hemifacial microsomia occurs in one in every 5,600 births.

Causes of Hemifacial Microsomia

While the cause of the condition is unknown, it is thought that hemifacial microsomia is the result of impaired blood flow during the first 6 to 8 weeks of fetal development.

Symptoms of Hemifacial Microsomia

The primary indication of hemifacial microsomia is that the lower half of one side of the face is underdeveloped and does not grow properly.

Additional characteristics of hemifacial microsomia may include:

  • Face asymmetry
  • Chin is not aligned with the middle of the face
  • One side of the mouth is higher than the other
  • The jaw is flattened and short
  • An ear is either small or not formed
  • Deafness
  • Macrostomia
  • Benign tumor of the eye
  • Spinal fusion
  • An absent temporomandibular joint

The right side of the face is twice as likely to be affected than the left. The child’s intellectual and physical development is typically not affected and is considered to be normal.

Treatment of Hemifacial Microsomia

Treatment of hemifacial microsomia depends on the severity of the condition. Children who are severely affected will require surgery. The goal of the surgery is to restore facial symmetry and establish normal occlusion and joint function. A customized surgical approach will provide the most effective results.

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