There are conditions where the jaw and/or face are uneven from side to side or are significantly smaller than normal. Terms such as hemifacial microsomia (the bones on one side of the face are smaller than the other), micrognathia (small jaw) or Parry-Romberg syndrome (deterioration of the soft tissue on one side of the face) are common issues associated with the jaw and face.
The appearance depends upon the specific condition, but the affected area will appear different than its opposing side, resulting in a lack of symmetry.
These conditions can occur as isolated incidents or they may be associated with a separate syndrome or other conditions. Common examples include Treacher Collins syndrome (absence of cheekbones), Pierre Robin syndrome (small jaw), Nager syndrome (smaller jaw with other congenital differences) and Goldenhar syndrome (hemifacial microsomia with other congenital differences). Traumatic injury, such as jaw or facial bone fracture, can also disturb growth and development.
Treatments vary and depend upon the specific deformity as well as the child’s age. Options range from lengthening the bone through a process called distraction osteogenesis to “camouflaging” the soft tissue with either bone or fat grafting. These reconstructive procedures are unique to each patient.
For more information on facial implants, refer to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons website.
NOTE: The previous descriptions and notes are intended to give an overview and are not at all comprehensive. Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the UK Department of Pediatric Plastic Surgery for a clinic consultation.