Craniofacial Surgery Fellowship

The craniofacial fellowship is based on a large clinical referral base from five states. The non-ACGME fellowship program has graduated 22 craniofacial surgeons who are currently practicing in academic and private practice environments. The fellowship educational experience is intrinsically linked to the Seattle Children’s Hospital Craniofacial Center, a 40 member interdisciplinary team with coordinated clinical and academic activities. Facial trauma experience is gained at the Harborview Regional Level 1 Trauma Center.

Goals and Objectives for Training:
Graduates of the program will have been exposed to diagnosing and peri-operative care of a large clinical volume of both pediatric and adult congenital and acquired craniomaxillofacial abnormalities. The goal of the program is to train individuals to be competent in all aspects of surgery of the craniofacial skeleton. The fellowship experience is approximately 80% pediatric and 20% adult.

Training includes:

  1. Cleft lip and palate care and repair;
  2. Pediatric craniofacial surgery;
  3. Craniomaxillofacial trauma of all ages;
  4. Pediatric plastic surgery;
  5. Pediatric and adult acute trauma and secondary trauma reconstruction;
  6. Facial reanimation procedures
  7. Craniofacial microsurgery
  8. Distraction osteogenesis and orthognathic surgery
  9. Clinical research.

Teaching Staff:
There are four full time academic plastic surgery faculty in the Craniofacial program: Drs. Richard Hopper, Joseph Gruss, Craig Birgfeld and Raymond Tse. Dr. Peter Neligan also operates with the craniofacial faculty on cases involving microsurgery and facial reanimation. The fellow will be exposed to the experiences of the interdisciplinary team of the Craniofacial Center including four craniofacial pediatricians.

The program is based at the Craniofacial Center at Seattle Children’s Hospital, the pediatric tertiary care center for the Northwest region. Adult craniomaxillofacial experience, both acquired and congenital, is treated at Harborview Medical Center, a nationally recognized level I trauma center. For more information: Craniofacial Center at Seattle Children’s HospitalHarborview Medical Center

Clinical and Research Components:
Clinical activity is on a supervised basis. Candidates for the fellowship must be eligible for a full Washington state license and will have faculty privileges at both hospitals. Active participation in ongoing clinical outcome studies and case series analysis is expected. Presentation of original clinical research at a national meeting is supported and expected.
Participant’s Supervisory & Patient Care Responsibilities:
As an acting instructor at the University of Washington, the participant will be involved in the clinical supervision and teaching of medical students and plastic surgery residents.
Procedural Requirements:
Individuals in the program must have well-developed Plastic Surgery skills and be familiar with the full range of Plastic Surgery procedures.
Didactic Components:
Participants in the program participate in CME accredited national and regional craniofacial conferences. Attendance is expected at the weekly University of Washington Plastic Surgery Divisional Rounds.
Program Certifications:  No additional certifications.
Fellowship History

Date of inception of fellowship: 1993 Number of fellows graduated since inception:  22

Names and current positions of your fellows over the past ten years:


Name(city or university)

Current Location

Type of Practice (Private or Academic)

2012 James Smartt, MD Dallas, TX Academic
2011 Edward Buchanan, MD Seattle, WA Academic
2010 Seree Iamphongsai, MD Bangkok, Thailand Academic
2009 Jason Pomerantz, MD University of California, San Francisco San Francisco, CA Academic
2008 Rohit Khosla, MD Stanford University Palo Alto, CA Academic
2007 Craig Birgfeld, MD Univ of Washington Seattle, WA Academic
2006 Albert Woo, MD Washington Univ St. Louis, MO Academic
2005 Patrick Kelly, MD Austin, TX Academic
2004 Anna Kuang, MD OHSU Portland, OR Academic
2003 John Girotto, MD Univ of Rochester Rochester, NY Academic
2002 Arshad Muzaffar, MD Univ of Missouri, Columbia Columbia, MO Academic
2001 Fred Ehret, MD Tacoma, WA Private
2000 Michael Whelan, MD Lynwood, MA Private
1999 Mark Smith, MD Beth Israel Hosp New York, NY Academic
1998 John Grant, MD Univ of Alabama Birmingham, AL Academic
Number of surgeons the fellow will operate with at least every two weeks: 4
Number of hospitals the fellow will operate at for elective cases: 2
Average number of OR day blocks the fellows will attend per week (report half day blocks as 0.5): 3
Number of craniofacial or cleft related clinics that the fellow will attend per week (report half day clinics as 0.5) 1.5
Description of research opportunities during the fellowship:
Basic science research is: Encouraged Available Not available
Clinical research is: Encouraged Available Not available
Case studies / Chapters are: Encouraged Available Not available
Case components of fellowship:
Fellowship Component Typical # cases by fellow / 12 mo
Craniomaxillofacial Trauma 78
Craniosynostosis-Single Suture 30
Craniosynostosis-Multiple Sutures 12
Cranioplasties 17
Intracranial Hypertelorism Corrections 3
Skull Base Tumor Approaches 3
Primary Cleft Lip Repair 14
Primary Cleft Palate Repair 18
VPI Repairs 14
Secondary Cleft lip/nasal Revisions 39
Alveolar Bone Graft 20
Rare Craniofacial Clefts 7
LeFort I +/- Distraction 2
LeFort III/Monobloc +/- Distraction 5
Mandible Osteotomy +/- Distraction 1
Elective LeFort Osteotomies with or without BSSO (non-cleft/non-CF syndromes) 2
Facial Paralysis 1
Microtia Reconstruction 0
Head and Neck Tumor Resection 6
Microsurgical Head and Neck Free Flaps 3
General Pediatric Plastic Surgery 51
Aesthetic Surgery 3
Positions in this program are filled through the Craniofacial Match Program,  Individuals applying for this program must have completed an ACGME accredited residency in and be either board certified or board eligible in Plastic Surgery and eligible to be licensed in the State of Washington.
Fellowship Application
Deadline for application to this SF Match program:
August 31 of each year for the following year’s appointment. Interviews are generally held during September, October and November. Please submit your application materials as early as possible for consideration of an onsite interview as early as September.  Must be registered
Program is a one-year appointment, July 1st – June 30th.
Prerequisite Training/Selection Criteria:
Applicants have completed verified training in Plastic Surgery.
Location of Fellowship:
This fellowship is based at the University of Washington Hospitals including primarily Seattle Children’s Hospital and Harborview Medical Center. The salary for this position is commensurate with institutional guidelines relative to the educational level of the individual involved. Application materials required: Individuals wishing to apply for this program should forward the following items (listed below) to Dr. Richard Hopper, c/o Craniofacial Fellowship Program Manager (see address below). Please submit the following:

  1. A cover letter addressed to: Dr. Richard Hopper c/o Craniofacial Fellowship Program Manager Seattle Children’s Hospital 4800 Sand Point Way M/S OB.9.520 Seattle, WA 98105
  2. An updated copy of your Curriculum Vitae.
  3. A personal statement.
  4. Three letters of reference: 1 from the Director of your Plastic Surgery Program and 2 from other attendings who are familiar with your work.Each institution submitting the letter may send the reference via standard mail addressed to Dr. Hopper’s attention. To expedite the letter’s arrival, the Institution may email the signed reference attached as a PDF to the Craniofacial Fellowship Program Manager’s email address.


Program Contact Information

Richard Hopper, MD, Director

Tiffany McCullough, Manager