Craniofacial Overview



While the majority of craniofacial malformations are due to genetic birth defects, our doctors treat children and adults who suffer from deformities caused by cancers, tumors, or trauma.

Craniofacial syndromes are most often a result of DNA genes that accidently get copied incorrectly during cell division.   Some of these conditions can cause an early fusion of the sutures in the skull, others may only affect parts of the face – like the jawbones or cheekbones – and some can disrupt the grwoth in both.

Needless to say, there is a wide variety of  of craniofacial disorders, and at Cleft & Craniofacial Institute of Utah, we can help you find a solution that will deliver outstanding results.


Get Treatment for These Conditions:

Our Treatment Goals

Our main goal with most craniofacial surgery is not only to correct abnormal head shapes, but to make sure that the brain has enough room to continue its growth and development.

We always want to start the planning as early as possible. The earlier we can get started, the more effective and coordinated the solution will be. At the Cleft & Craniofacial Institute of Utah, Dr. Griner and his team treat ever patient who is dealing with one of these challenges like one of the family.  Our entire team has the experience and dedication to provide you with the solutions you need.

Our Expertise

Cleft Lip/Palate

 Cleft lips and palates are one of the most common birth anomalies that affect about 1/600 newborn babies in the United States and around 1/500 in the state of Utah.  Clefts can range from quite mild to fairly severe.  Most of the time they are an isolated anomaly, but are also associated with a number of gentic syndromes.  Depending on what structures are involved dictates the complexity of the treatment plan.   Our team works together with you to make a customized plan for  your baby.  Even the most severe of cases should be able to be treated with only a few surgical interventions by a well coordinated and efficient team.






The skull is made up of several different bones that are joined together by growth plates called "sutures."  Craniosynostosis is a condition where one or more of these sutures fuse prematurely causing an abnormal head shape, decreased cranial volume, and the possiblilty of raised intracranial pressure.  The treatment of craniosynostosis is surgical and the goals of surgery are to increase the volume of the skul and to correct the abnormal appearance of the head shape.  There are two methods of surgical correction: open vault reconstruction and strip craniectomy.  Dr. Griner's extensive training allows him to perform these complex procedures without the need for blood transfusions and spending only 1-2 nights in the hospital. 



There are many syndromes that can affect the shape of the head and face and include Aperts, Crouzon, Pfieffer, Treacher Collins, and many others.  Most of these syndromes include many other complex anomalies and need to be treated in a coordinated approach in order to reduce the number of operations the child will need.  These syndromes are rare and require specialists that are very familiar with the intricacies of each syndrome.  Dr. Griner's unique training provided him with extensive experience with craniofacial syndromes and makes him the premier choice to guide the management of your child's needs in Utah.





Ear Deformities

Ear deformities range from mild changes in shape to the complete abscence of an ear and deafness.  Mild deformities can be treated in the first few weeks of life while others will require reconstructive surgery and hearing aids.  No matter the severity, our specialists work together to provide normal appearance and improved hearing.


From the Blog

Parenting a Cleft Child: Selecting a Surgeon

You stare at that ultrasound, taking in the news that your baby has a cleft lip and/or palate. You’re referred to a specialist to confirm that diagnosis. You see the specialist, baby’s cleft is confirmed. You don’t know how to feel or what questions to ask. It all...

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Staged palate repairs

Staged palate repairs were implemented to try and reduce the chance of stunting the upper jaw growth and needing to have it surgically advanced later in life, while at the same time allowing normal speech to develop.  We know from several studies that the growth of...

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