Genetic Screening in Patients with Craniofacial Malformations.

Craniofacial malformations include a variety of anomalies, including cleft lip with or without cleft palate, craniosynostosis, microtia, and hemifacial microsomia. All of these anomalies can be either isolated or part of a defined genetic syndrome. A clinical geneticist or genetic counselor should be a member of the craniofacial team to help determine which patients have isolated anomalies and which are likely to have a syndrome. They would then arrange for the appropriate genetic testing to confirm the diagnosis of the specific syndrome. The identification of the specific syndrome is important for the overall care of the patient (as it identifies risk for other medical problems such as congenital heart defect) that will have to be taken into account in the care of the craniofacial malformation. In addition, knowing the specific syndrome will allow the family to understand how this happened to their child and the recurrence risk for future pregnancies. With the advent of new technologies, there are now many types of genetic testing available (including, karyotype, fluorescence in situ hybridization, chromosomal microarrays, and next generation sequencing) and the medical geneticist and genetic counselor can determine which specific testing is needed for a given patient.

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