Latest Treatment Modalities for Goldenhar Syndrome

More than the physical suffering of patients with Goldenhar syndrome is the emotional pain that they experience due to the physical deformity caused by the syndrome.


A Gist on Goldenhar Syndrome

Goldenhar syndrome, also referred to as Oculo-Auriculo-Vertebral (OAV) syndrome, is a condition present at birth, which usually affects the person’s face, head and spine. In general, Goldenhar syndrome occurs rarely at an incidence of one in every 3,000 to 5,000 live births and is seen more frequently in males than in females.

The exact cause of Goldenhar syndrome is not yet identified, but a number of possible causes are already known. Children with this syndrome have visible distortions of the face, which includes underdeveloped ear or eye and cheekbones, partially developed or absent vertebrae, as well as involvement of some vital organs such as heart and lung defects.

After birth, the signs are already present if he or she has Goldenhar syndrome, due to the distinctive craniofacial issues. When Goldenhar is suspected or proven to exist in a child, he or she will undergo a series of assessments to identify which treatment plan is appropriate. The child will then be evaluated how the underlying structures are affected, including the brain and facial bones, the cranial nerves, the central nervous system and nearly all parts of the spine. It is essential that abnormalities be clearly identified and given proper treatment so as not to impede in the success of the future treatments modalities.

There are a number of options for your child to address the deformities caused by the syndrome. Generally, many surgeries, particularly reconstructive ones, are already performed on a child with Goldenhar syndrome as early as five or six years of age. Depending on the severity of the condition, here are newew methods, along with more traditionally performed surgical operations for a child suffering from Goldenhar syndrome.

  • Rib graft and Medpor ear reconstructive surgery. Though reconstructing a child’s ear is considered a major challenge, surgeries have now improved, which cater to the child’s specific needs. One of these is Rib graft surgery. Rib graft is a form of surgery that involves taking a portion of your child’s rib that is then used to construct a framework of cartilage shaped like an ear and then grafted by skin. This form of surgery has one to four stages depending on the severity of the syndrome affecting the child.

On the other hand, Medpor surgery can be performed in one stage only. Unlike Rib graft, Medpor surgery does not require taking a section of the child’s rib. It uses a synthetic framework made from porous polyethylene material which will also be covered by skin. The doctor will be the one to perform a series of evaluation tests to determine which surgical treatment will be more appropriate for your child.

  • Craniofacial surgery. Up until the bones have achieved their maximum growth, which is normally between the ages thirteen and seventeen, your child can be submitted for craniofacial surgery. It involves jaw reconstruction through the use of bone grafts which will help lengthen the jaw. If the surgeon has not yet suggested submitting your child for this type of surgery, your child may benefit from some minor treatments to help him or her get some relief from discomfort caused by his/her crooked jaw line.

There are other forms of surgery procedures available for your child suffering from Goldenhar syndrome. Treatment that will best suit your child will rely on some factors including age, underlying conditions and overall health. It’s better to discuss with your doctor which mode of treatment is best for your child.


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