Feeding considerations for infants with craniofacial malformations

  • Mark A. Green
    Instructor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Harvard School of Dental Medicine and Harvard Medical School, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, Department of Plastic and Oral Surgery, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA
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  • Cory M. Resnick
    Corresponding author.
    Harvard School of Dental Medicine and Harvard Medical School, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, Department of Plastic and Oral Surgery, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA
    Search for articles by this author
Published:September 17, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.siny.2021.101280


      Approximately 5% of children experience difficulty with the complex coordination of sucking, swallowing and breathing required for feeding. Infants with craniofacial malformations may have anatomic and neurologic contributions to feeding problems. Examples include cleft lip and/or palate, micrognathia, maxillary hypoplasia, and pharyngeal dysfunction. Interventions may facilitate weight gain and avoid failure-to-thrive in these infants. An interdisciplinary approach to address feeding challenges in children with craniofacial differences is necessary. Positional changes, latching maneuvers, specialized feeder nipples, squeezable bottles, and cup feeding can be implemented early. Surgical intervention, including gastrostomy tube placement, tongue lip adhesion, mandibular distraction osteogenesis and tracheostomy, may be required in more severe cases.


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