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Cleft lip and palate

Cleft lip and palate

The Cleft and Craniofacial Center

Co-branded logo

The Cleft and Craniofacial Center is a collaboration between Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston and MassGeneral Hospital for Children to provide comprehensive, multidisciplinary care to children born with a cleft lip, cleft palate or other craniofacial anomalies. We treat children 18 and under. Each child’s comprehensive care team includes a plastic surgeon, oral-maxillofacial surgeon, orthodontist, otolaryngologist, speech therapist, dietitian, pediatrician, geneticist and other associated specialists. All care is provided in a family-centered environment regardless of the families' ability to pay.

We understand the stress and uncertainty that come with having a child with a cleft lip, cleft palate or other craniofacial disorder. Our goal is to ensure easy access to the care your child needs. After the age of 18, your child’s care team will determine the appropriate time to transition care to a Massachusetts General Hospital specialist for continued follow up through adulthood.

Conditions treated include:

  • Cleft lip
  • Cleft palate

Collaborative approach to care

At the Cleft and Craniofacial Center, we have a comprehensive team of specialists who treat children with craniofacial conditions. After checking in, you will be escorted to your exam room. All of the specialists your child needs to see that day will come to you, including the oral surgeon, plastic surgeon, nurses, orthodontist, speech pathologist and dietitian. This multidisciplinary model of care allows for all of your child’s care providers to be informed and aligned on the treatment plan throughout all stages of care.

Nurse care managers and social workers are available during and in between appointments to assist patients and their families with the psychosocial issues associated with craniofacial conditions and to ensure the best outcomes for the patient and family.

An approved team of the American Cleft Palate Craniofacial Association

In April 2017, the Cleft and Craniofacial Center at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children and Shriners Hospitals for Children became an approved team of the American Cleft Palate Craniofacial Association (ACPA). The mission of the ACPA is to optimize team care for patients, and the approval process plays a major part in ensuring this mission becomes a reality. This distinction is for teams that meet the highest quality standards for their composition and functioning. The purpose of ACPA Team Approval is to provide care in a coordinated and consistent manner with the proper sequencing of evaluations and treatments within the framework of the patient’s overall developmental, medical and psychological needs.

ACPA Approved Teams are comprised of qualified professionals from medical, surgical, dental and other health disciplines working in an interdisciplinary system. Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston’s addition to the organization required a very lengthy application process that was completed by Eric Liao, M.D. Ph.D., FACS, co-director, Cleft and Craniofacial Center; and Cleft Team Coordinators Kathy Hannigan RN, BSN, clinic nurse and Sandra Barrett RN, CCM, care manager. Prestigious membership allows for opportunities that bring specialists together in a common forum, with the singular goal of delivering the best outcomes to their patients.

In addition to the benefits to the hospital from such an alliance, the ACPA also provides resources to patients and families through ACPA Family Services. They make referrals to ACPA Approved Teams, raise funds for research, advocates for family-centered team care, and awards scholarships to health care professionals and college students who are affected by cleft and craniofacial conditions.

To make an appointment

Parents of new patients wishing to make an appointment may call 617-371-4731 to speak to a hospital staff member. Existing patients may call 617-371-4958 to schedule an appointment or speak with a staff member. Referring physicians or members of OB/GYN and neonatology teams wishing to speak to a team member may call 617-371-4731.

For general hospital information, please call 617-722-3000.

When patients are evaluated, surgical and other follow-up appointments will be determined and scheduled as appropriate. Doctors are also available for consultations with expectant parents whose child has been diagnosed in utero with a cleft or other craniofacial issue.

The medical team

Eric C. Liao, M.D., Ph.D., Co-Director, Plastic Surgeon
Zachary Peacock, M.D., D.M.D., Co-Director, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon
Katherine P. Klein, D.M.D., MS, Orthodontist
Carlos Duran, M.D., Chief of Pediatrics
Branko Bojovic, M.D., Chief of Plastic Surgery
William G. Austen Jr., M.D., Plastic Surgeon
Christopher Hartnick, M.D., Otolaryngologist
Leonard Kaban, M.D., D.M.D., Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon
Cheryl Hersh, MS, CCC-SLP, Speech-Language Pathologist
Kathy Hannigan, RN, BSN, Team Coordinator
Sandra Barrett, RN, BSN, CCM, Team Coordinator
Jennifer Shiel, MS, RD, LDN, Clinical Dietitian
Maria Theodorakakis, Ph.D., Pediatric Psychologist