Can Hemifacial Microsomia Be Fixed?

Medically Reviewed on 1/31/2023
Hemifacial Microsomia
Hemifacial microsomia is present at birth and affects one side of the face.

Hemifacial microsomia can be corrected with multiple surgical procedures to attain the best possible cosmetic and functional results.

The surgical procedures include the following:

  • Craniofacial or maxillofacial surgery: Includes advancement, reconstruction, jaw lengthening procedures, and cleft lip or palate repair.
  • Dental surgery: Tooth extraction for the correction of crowing and implants.
  • Ear, nose, and throat surgery: Placing hearing devices or reconstructing the missing ear.
  • Eye surgery: Socket creation for artificial eye placement, surgical removal of benign growths, and reconstruction of the upper eyelid so that it can be fully closed.
  • Plastic surgery: For cheeks.
  • Bone distraction: The placement of a device to increase the length of the jaw.

Nonsurgical procedures

  • Speech therapy
  • Braces
  • Hearing aids

Treatments immediately after birth

  • Tracheostomy to help breath
  • A feeding tube to deliver nutrition to the baby when oral feeding is not possible

Hemifacial microsomia does not affect the child's life expectancy. However, a child with hemifacial microsomia generally has a shorter lifespan.

What is hemifacial microsomia?

Hemifacial or craniofacial microsomia is a condition where one side of the face does not develop normally. It rarely occurs on both sides, affecting child functions, such as breathing, eating, and hearing. This is the second most facial condition after cleft lip and palate.

Hemifacial microsomia is present at birth and affects the following:

  • Cheekbones
  • Eye
  • Lower jaw
  • Facial nerves
  • Neck

Rarely, the condition affects other systems, such as the bones, ribs, spine, liver, and kidneys.

What are the causes of hemifacial microsomia?

The exact cause of hemifacial microsomia is unknown. Experts believe that fetal defects that occur in the first six months of gestation cause the condition. Rarely, it is inherited in families. 

The effect of environmental factors causing hemifacial microsomia is not evident.

What are the symptoms of hemifacial microsomia?

The symptoms of hemifacial microsomia include:

  • Ear
    • Improper ear positioning
    • Loss of hearing
    • Missing ear canal
    • The missing or small outer ear
    • Skin tags
  • Eyes
    • Missing eye
    • Small eye
    • Improper closing or inability to fully close the eyes
    • Vision problems
    • Noncancerous growths
  • Face
    • Small facial muscles
    • Facial palsy or facial paralysis
    • Flat cheeks and forehead
  • Mouth
  • Teeth
    • Irregular placed teeth
    • Delayed tooth eruption
    • Abnormally shaped tooth
    • Missing teeth
    • Extra teeth

How is hemifacial microsomia diagnosed?

Physical examination and imaging tests help diagnose hemifacial microsomia. In a few cases, the condition is detected in the fetal stage during the prenatal ultrasound.

The following imaging tests are used for hemifacial microsomia:

Rarely, genetic tests are conducted to rule out genetic causes of the condition.


Conception: The Amazing Journey from Egg to Embryo See Slideshow
Medically Reviewed on 1/31/2023
Image Source: iStock image

Hemifacial Microsomia.

Craniofacial microsomia.

Hemifacial Microsomia.