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J Maxillofac Oral Surg. 2009 Dec;8(4):348-56. doi: 10.1007/s12663-009-0084-x. Epub 2010 Apr 24.

Craniofacial surgery, from past pioneers to future promise.

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Dept. of Surgery, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, Los Angeles, USA ; Dept. of Surgery, Stanford University Medical Center, Los Angeles, USA.



As a surgical subspecialty devoted to restoration of normal facial and calvarial anatomy, craniofacial surgeons must navigate the balance between pathologic states of bone excess and bone deficit. While current techniques employed take root in lessons learned from the success and failure of early pioneers, craniofacial surgery continues to evolve, and novel modalities will undoubtedly arise integrating past and present experiences with future promise to effectively treat craniofacial disorders.


This review provides an overview of current approaches in craniofacial surgery for treating states of bone excess and deficit, recent advances in our understanding of the molecular and cellular processes underlying craniosynostosis, a pathological state of bone excess, and current research efforts in cellular-based therapies for bone regeneration.


The surgical treatment of bone excess and deficit has evolved to improve both the functional and morphological outcomes of affected patients. Recent progress in elucidating the molecular and cellular mechanisms governing bone formation will be instrumental for developing improved therapies for the treatment of pathological states of bone excess and deficit.


While significant advances have been achieved in craniofacial surgery, improved strategies for addressing states of bone excess and bone deficit in the craniofacial region are needed. Investigations on the biomolecular events involved in craniosynostosis and cellular-based bone tissue engineering may soon be added to the armamentarium of surgeons treating craniofacial dysmorphologies.


Bone morphogenetic protein; Bone tissue engineering; Craniofacial surgery; Craniosynostosis; Distraction osteogenesis; Fibroblast growth factor; Transforming growth factor beta

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