By Michael Sundine, MD

Craniofacial and Pediatric Plastic Surgeon – Michael J. Sundine, MD, FACS, FAAP

Craniofacial and pediatric plastic surgery is a passion of mine, and has been for many years. Throughout my career as a craniofacial-pediatric plastic and reconstructive surgeon, I have found that helping pediatric patients with Pierre Robin sequence (PRS) grow and mature into wonderful people is one of the most rewarding aspects of my career.

PRS refers to an assortment of birth defects that emerge together. These defects include micrognathia (a small lower jaw), which often causes glossoptosis (a condition in which the tongue falls back toward the back of the throat, causing breathing and swallowing problems), and a u-shaped cleft palate.

To treat micrognathia and the resulting glossoptosis that appear with PRS, I frequently perform a procedure called mandibular distraction. This is a surgical method in which I increase the length of the jaw bone and surrounding tissues by attaching metal distractors on either side of the jaw bone. This procedure also pulls the tongue forward and away from the oral airway. This resolves the obstruction of the tongue that causes breathing and swallowing problems, allowing the child to breathe and eat more easily.

Mandibular distraction requires a very specialized team approach, including a close working partnership with neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) professionals. Throughout my career and in conjunction with my NICU partners, we have been honored to work with amazing kids and some very marvelous and dedicated parents. It makes me proud to know these families.

For more information about this condition and the available treatment options, please call our office at [primary_phone], so we can answer all your questions.