Craniofacial Clinic

The Craniofacial Clinic at El Paso Children’s Hospital is the first and only comprehensive pediatric craniofacial program in the region that provides children in the greater El Paso area access to a dedicated multidisciplinary team of physicians skilled in correcting facial, jaw and skull abnormalities.  It is the only Craniofacial Team in the region to be nationally recognized by the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association. It is no longer necessary for families to bear the burden of traveling outside of the region to access this service, and our team provides family-centered, compassionate care you’ve come to expect from a dedicated children’s hospital.

El Paso Boy Flourishes After Lifesaving Surgery

Conditions we treat:

  • Craniosynostosis (isolated and syndromic)
  • Rare craniofacial clefts
  • Acute and chronic sequelae (condition resulting from a disease, injury or other trauma) of facial fractures
  • Micrognathia (undersized jaw)
  • Apert Syndrome (a kind of dentofacial deformity)
  • Crouzon Syndrome (another kind of dentofacial deformity)
  • Pfeiffer Syndrome (another kind of dentofacial deformity)
  • Treacher Collins Syndrome
  • Hemifacial Microsomia (small or underdeveloped parts of the face)
  • Parry-Romberg Syndrome
  • Pierre Robin Sequence
  • Diagnosis and Evaluation

Treatment Options:

If you have a child who has been identified and referred to our team, rest assured they are in good hands.  Depending on your child’s diagnosis, treatment could range from long-term monitoring to surgery.   

We offer a wide range of options for treating craniofacial disorders, and your physician will evaluate and provide their suggestions for the best course of treatment for your child.  Some treatments may include:

Surgery of the Skull
About 1 in 2,000 infants are born with craniosynostosis, which sometimes can cause serious developmental issues.  Our multidisciplinary team of physicians, surgeons, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, registered dieticians, child life specialists and social workers, collaborate to ensure your child receives individualized treatment options that can range from long-term monitoring to surgical intervention.  Our craniofacial team provides advanced treatment procedures including leading-edge techniques such endoscopic surgery, distraction osteogenesis, and use of resorbable implants.

Facial Surgery
Children’s facial defects can range from simple to complex and often involve facial bone structures that may be underdeveloped, malformed or totally absent. Facial surgery can help restore form and function in children with facial bone, nerve and muscle disorders.

Facial surgery often includes correcting undeveloped bones, nerve repair, nerve transfer, muscle transfer and microsurgical nerve transplantation. This type of surgery will help children have enhanced control and fuller range of facial expressions.

Jaw Surgery
Surgery of the jaw may be recommended when a child experiences a jaw injury or clearly shows signs of problems with facial development, which may be an isolated growth problem. Often requiring multiple operations and bone grafting, the corrective process usually involves moving one or both jaws to a more normal position. The patient may receive orthodontic treatment simultaneously, and the combined therapy is carefully coordinated with all other aspects of the patient’s care.

Distraction Osteogenesis
Distraction osteogenesis is a surgical procedure used to reconstruct craniofacial skeletal deformities. This surgery is an effective way to grow new bone and allow soft tissue growth to accumulate in the new skeletal structure. We are experienced in treating children of all ages with distraction osteogenesis and tailor the care of the child to treat the specific condition.

A Less Invasive Technique for Babies with Craniosynostosis
The basic and fundamental principle with our Craniosynostosis treatment, is to operate on the baby with Craniosynostosis as early as possible. As the brain is growing very rapidly during this period, releasing the closed suture allows the brain to reshape itself to normal with the aid of the helmet. Best results are obtained when the infant receives the procedure by 12 weeks of age. However, successful skull reshaping can be achieved for older babies, with appropriate postoperative cranial helmet therapy. Our approach is to release the prematurely closed suture and allow the infant’s misshapen rapidly growing brain to remodel the skull and face to a normal shape. Depending on which suture is affected, our craniosynostosis procedures have been designed to provide the most optimal results. Following surgery, the desired shape of the skull is attained with the use of custom made cranial helmets that are worn continuously by the infant over the ensuing months.

What to Expect

Meet Our Team

Your child’s first visit to our Craniofacial Clinic will include a complete examination of their head shape.

After the exam, our team meets and reviews your child’s individual course of treatment and decides on a customized tailor-made solution for them. We understand the difficulties and challenges patients and families experience, so that is why our team’s mission is to provide ongoing communication throughout the process to make certain your questions and concerns are always answered.

Our multi-disciplinary medical team is committed to providing your child a positive outcome which not only includes the correction of physical appearance and functionality but also ensuring that their mental health is strong and they are able to thrive in school and in life.  Our team is committed to providing your child with continuous care in an environment that is designed specifically for pediatric patients and their families.

Our multidisciplinary team is made up of cleft and craniofacial surgeons, neurosurgeons, pediatric hospitalists, dentists, orthodontists, psychologists, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, registered dieticians, child life specialists and social workers. While we have a full range of additional specialists ready to treat patients, we customize a plan of care for each child and enlist the help of these specialists on a case-by-case basis. The Craniofacial Clinic at El Paso Children’s Hospital is the first of its kind in our region and the only one that provides complete care from the time of diagnosis through surgery and beyond.

It is important to continue care through follow-up appointments to ensure patients thrive well into the future. You are not alone in your child’s medical journey, and our team can provide information about additional resources and support services to make sure your child’s well-being is always a priority.

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Personal Statement

Dr. David Yates MD, DMD, FACS is passionate about serving children with craniofacial deformities and Cleft Lip and Palate. He is a Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon and was recently awarded the inaugural “Physician of the Year” award by his colleagues at El Paso Children’s Hospital.

He is the Division Chief of Craniofacial Surgery at El Paso Children’s Hospital and has been instrumental in bringing complex craniofacial surgery to the region. In addition to being a partner with High Desert Oral and Facial Surgery, he is Medical Director for the Cranial and Facial Clinic at El Paso Children’s Hospital. He has also been integral in starting a clinic for children with Cleft Lip and Palate in Juarez, Mexico at the Hospital De La Familia (FEMAP). He serves on the national committee for Cleft, Craniofacial, and Pediatric Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and is a reviewer for the Cleft Palate and Craniofacial Journal. He regularly participates in international humanitarian trips for cleft lip and palate and craniofacial surgery, and has been featured in multiple news stories about the children he has impacted. He gives numerous presentations at different conferences around the country and has operated on kids from all over the world.

Undergraduate: Wheaton College
Dental School: University of Florida
Medical School: University of Texas Southwestern Medical School
General Surgery Internship: Parkland Hospital/UT Southwestern
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Residency: Parkland Hospital UT Southwestern
Craniofacial and Cleft Surgery Fellowship: Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center: Shreveport

  • Division Chief of Craniofacial Surgery, El Paso Children’s Hospital (EPCH)
  • Fellowship Director: El Paso Cleft and Craniofacial Fellowship
  • Director: Craniofacial Clinic, EPCH
  • Co-director: Cleft Lip and Palate Clinic (FEMAP) Juarez, Mexico
  • AAOMS National Committee for Cleft, Craniofacial, and Pediatric Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
  • Vice Chair of the Pediatric and Cleft and Craniofacial Clinical Interest Group at AAOMS
  • Member: El Paso Cleft Lip and Palate Team
  • Member: Las Cruces Cleft Lip and Palate Team
  • Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon
  • “Physician of the Year” El Paso Children’s Hospital 2018
  • Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery at the TTUHSC, El Paso – Paul Foster School of Medicine
  • Diplomate of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
  • Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (FACS)

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