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When Your Child Needs Surgery, Everything Matters

How Nationwide Children’s Hospital Turns Best Practices into Best Outcomes

Come inside the operating room to see baby Owen’s cleft lip repair.

From the tiniest peripheral nerve connections to the most complex craniofacial reconstructions, every child deserves collaborative, holistic care from a communicative and organized interdisciplinary team. The Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Nationwide Children’s Hospital has earned national and international acclaim for its unique combination of clinical expertise and a relentless focus on best outcomes.

World-Renowned Cleft Care

Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s Cleft Lip and Palate Center have earned its international reputation through tireless work to improve the quality and outcomes of cleft lip and palate surgery. Each patient receives a comprehensive care plan with consultative input from multiple subspecialists throughout their development. The center’s team has included three former presidents of the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association, and Chief of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Richard E. Kirschner, MD, FACS, FAAP is co-editor of the textbook Comprehensive Cleft Care. 

Fixing Cleft-Related Speech Problems 

Some children born with a cleft palate have speech that is difficult to understand or that is characterized by leakage of air through the nose — a condition known as velopharyngeal dysfunction (VPD). 

VPD must be carefully diagnosed and precisely treated. Surgeons and speech pathologists in the hospital’s VPD Program excel in managing this condition and are key participants in a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to measure speech outcomes after cleft palate repair.

Improving Life with 22q 

Children with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome experience a wide range of physical and developmental concerns affecting nearly every body system. Patients of the 22q Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital see an expert team of clinicians who address their specific needs — often in a single day.  The team develops a comprehensive treatment plan for each child that includes diagnostic testing, medical/surgical care, therapy and ongoing psychosocial support.

Reconnecting Nerves to Regain Function and Feeling The hospital’s Center for Brachial Plexus and Peripheral Nerve Surgery offers highly specialized, complex pediatric procedures to reconnect or redirect peripheral nerves to healthy tissue. This surgery can help children with nerve damage caused by conditions such as acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), brachial plexus injuries and congenital facial paralysis regain the ability to walk, use their hands or smile.

A Uniquely Collaborative Approach

The primary plastic and reconstructive surgery team include four pediatric plastic surgeons, three nurse practitioners, two Ph.D. speech scientists and two craniofacial orthodontists, all working hand-in-hand with experts from numerous other disciplines. 

Faculty members are investigators on three NIH-funded grants and have 26 clinical research projects underway. They publish dozens of chapters and peer-reviewed articles each year and have trained surgeons and other providers from around the world.

In the past 10 years, patients have traveled from 45 states and 21 countries to receive reconstructive surgery at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Every member of the care team meets to discuss each case, resulting in a truly coordinated approach to achieving the best possible outcomes for all aspects of a child’s clinical, developmental and psychosocial health.

The program serves patients with any reconstructive surgical needs. Additional centers of excellence and areas of expertise within the department include:

  • Center for Complex Craniofacial Disorders
  • Hemangioma and Vascular Malformations Clinic
  • Treatment of Giant Congenital Nevi
  • Ear Reconstruction
  • Adolescent Breast Reconstruction
  • Craniofacial Orthodontics

About Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Nationwide Children’s Hospital is located in Columbus, Ohio. It is the second-largest children’s hospital in the United States and consistently ranks among the nation’s 10 best children’s hospitals. With convenient access to the city’s international airport, downtown food and cultural attractions, Nationwide Children’s Hospital offer global visitors world-class care and a comfortable, welcoming place to call home during treatment.

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