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Leading-Edge Research Enhances Pediatric Care

Clinical researchers at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, in conjunction with Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and School of Dentistry, are continually exploring new therapies and novel approaches to enhance established treatments and patient outcomes. Not only does this research have the potential to benefit the patients involved, but it could also help other children throughout the country and even around the world.

The Division of Pediatric Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery’s Craniofacial Center was one of just two centers in the country selected by the National Institutes of Health to participate in a five-year study to analyze speech development in children with cleft lip and palate.

The Craniofacial Center team has pioneered the use of resorbable fixation for craniofacial surgery, and osseointegrated implants for ear or facial reconstruction.

Clinical Trials Help Discover New, Effective Treatments

Most of our research is conducted using clinical trials, which determine whether new treatments are advantageous and effective. Patients in the Division of Pediatric Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery may be candidates for one of these studies, and may be invited to join a clinical trial. However, participation is strictly voluntary.

Examples of successfully completed clinical trials include:

  • Giant congenital nevi and tissue expansion: examining the optimal treatment approach has resulted in determining the best placement for tissue expanders and the proper amount of saline to fill the expanders in order to optimize skin coverage
  • Vascular anomalies: identifying associated conditions that accompany complex hemangiomas and that could lead to significant consequences
  • Hemangiomas: investigating ways to decrease the growth phase, including application of propranolol instead of traditional steroid treatment
  • Management of secondary speech disorders for children with cleft palate repair: investigating the use of native palatal tissues for surgical correction of nasality compared to the traditional means of transferring non-native palatal tissues
  • Cleft nasal reconstruction: analyzing outcomes of nasal deformities from clefting using bioresorbable materials compared to traditional techniques of harvesting the patient’s own cartilage
  • Distraction outcomes: with Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine, using midpoint or lower jaw distraction techniques to more predictably bring the facial skeleton to the desired endpoint