What is Pfeiffer Syndrome?
Pfeiffer Syndrome (first reported in 1964) is a condition resulting from premature fusion of the sutures of the skull and deformity of the skull. Characteristics include:
- Skull is prematurely fused and unable to grow normally (craniosynostosis)
- Bulging wide-set eyes due to shallow eye sockets (occular proptosis)
- Underdevelopment of the midface
- Broad, short thumbs and big toes
- Possible webbing of the hands and feet
Why did this happen?
There is no link between anything the mother did or did not do while she was pregnant and the occurrence of Pfeiffer Syndrome. Doctors believe it is caused by changes in the gene (FGFR 1 & FGFR 2) mapped to chromosome's 8 and 10. The cause of the change is not currently known.
Will this happen to children I have in the future?
If you have Pfeiffer Syndrome, there is a 50% chance that other children you have will be born with it. If both parents are unaffected, the risk is very small that it will occur in other children. If you or a family member has Pfeiffer Syndrome, we encourage you to consider participating in a current study through The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Details are given below.
What kinds of problems could my child have?
In addition to the physical characteristics common to Pfeiffer Syndrome, your child may have the following problems:
- Dental problems due to crowded teeth and often a high palate
- Poor vision
- Hearing loss in about 50% of children
Will my child need surgery?
Depending on the severity of Pfeiffer Syndrome, your child may have some or all of the following surgeries:
- Frontal orbital advancement to allow the skull to grow properly and to increase the size of the eye sockets
- Jaw surgery
- Orthodontics work
- Surgical advancement of the mid-face
With the proper treatment, most children with Pfeiffer Syndrome grow up to have completely normal intelligence and normal lives!
New advances in procedures to correct Pfeiffer Syndrome are constantly being developed. Be an advocate for your child!
How do I get help for my child?
Your child should be treated by a qualified craniofacial medical team at a craniofacial center. Currently, FACES has information on sixty-four craniofacial teams located in 27 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada. This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the craniofacial teams. Please contact FACES for details.
Am I alone?
No! There are many families and organizations who will be glad to talk with you and help you with information and support. Don't forget books, videos, and websites. The listing below will get you started.
FACES: The National Craniofacial Association
P. O. Box 11082
Chattanooga, TN 37401
We provide financial support for non-medical expenses to patients traveling to a craniofacial center for treatment. Eligibility is based on financial and medical need. Resources include newsletters, information about craniofacial conditions, and networking opportunities.
Apert International, Inc.
1900 Shadowood Drive
Columbia, SC 29212
This web site on Apert Syndrome will give you directions to the on-line discussion network that will also help you with Pfeiffer Syndrome concerns, as the two syndromes have many similarities. Read stories and meet other families - a great support network.
Pfeiffer Syndrome Internet Support Group
A place for parents of children with Pfeiffer Syndrome to join with other parents and learn about what they can expect for the future of their children. This group includes parents of children with and young adults with Pfeiffer Syndrome, who can give a unique perspective of having gone through the necessary surgeries. To join, send an e-mail request to firstname.lastname@example.org
Headlines, Craniofacial Support
8 Footes Lane
This excellent international organization has a booklet on Pfeiffer Syndrome, as well as a support network of families dealing with this syndrome. They also have a number of journal articles relating to Pfeiffer Syndrome.
Babyface: A Story of Heart and Bones, written by Jeanne McDermott, the mom of a son born with Apert Syndrome. This wonderful, passionate book highlights the first two years of Nate's life, and this gifted writer expresses the thoughts and feelings that are a part of the journey of having a child who is born with a rare disorder. This is a book you will want to share with your friends and family members. The book can be found at Amazon.com.
The Craniofacial Center
Dr. Jeffery A. Fearon, MD, FACS, FAAP, Director
7777 Forest Lane, Suite C-700
Dallas, TX 75230
Visit Dr. Jeffrey Fearon's informative website that is very lay friendly and easy to understand.
Children with Facial Difference:
A Parent's Guide
Written by Hope Charkins, MSW. Order from Amazon.com if you cannot find it in your local bookstore. Excellent resource for parents to help them cope with medical, emotional, social, educational, legal, and financial challenges presented by facial differences of their children.
National Health Law Program
1444 I Street NW, Suite 1105
Washington, DC 20005
Provides extensive information on health care law affecting families with children who have special health care needs.