WVU Medicine Children’s has established a pediatric craniofacial center that will provide plastic and oral surgery, counseling and social work for kids with skull and face abnormalities such as a cleft lip or palate. The center is the first of its kind in the state.
The next closest craniofacial facility to Morgantown is located in Pittsburgh. Now, children with cleft lips, airway problems, face trauma or genetic skull abnormalities can be treated locally.
In an email, program director Doctor Aaron Mason said there are only about 30 newborns with facial clefts born each year in West Virginia – he doesn’t have numbers for most of the other conditions the center will treat. However, care for children with these issues can be lifelong and intensive.
Mason’s team currently sees about 15-20 patients a week and performs 1-3 surgeries. He said he expects those numbers to go up as patients who previously went out of state for care begin using the West Virginia center.
Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Benedum Foundation, Charleston Area Medical Center and WVU Medicine.