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Dr. Thurston and Katlin Hodges

Pediatric Services

Craniofacial Surgery

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    Massoud Building
    910 Blackford St., Suite 150
    Chattanooga, TN 37403


The Erlanger Cleft and Craniofacial Center specializes in the evaluation and treatment of patients with craniofacial (head and face) disorders. Our center covers a wide range of services, including surgeries, for children born with craniofacial birth defects, or a condition that develops through injury or disease.

Our staff knows that dealing with facial or cranial disorders can be overwhelming for both you and your child and know that understanding these complex procedures can be difficult. Our multi-disciplinary team of pediatric specialists, along with careful planning and coordination with your child’s pediatrician, will allow us to provide comprehensive treatment plans that will greatly improve your child’s quality of life and appearance.

Multidisciplinary Team

  • Plastic/Craniofacial Surgeon – A doctor who performs facial surgeries
  • Otolaryngologist – An ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor
  • Orthodontist – A specialized dentist who uses braces and other devices to correct problems with teeth and jaws
  • Pediatric Dentist – A dentist who specifically works with children and who is familiar with the unique dental needs of cleft lip and palate patients
  • Speech and Language Pathologist – A specialized therapist who has received advanced trained in feeding and speech. The Speech and Language Pathologist works with the patient and his/her family to improve eating and speech throughout their care.
  • Pediatrician – A doctor who monitors a child’s overall health
  • Nurse Practitioner – A nurse with a graduate degree in advanced practice nursing and who is a mid-level provider.
  • Social worker – A team member who is specifically trained to provide counseling and assistance to patients and their families
  • Audiologist – A person who evaluates, assesses, and manages hearing disorders
  • Team Coordinator – A provider who coordinates care and provides education to patients and families

Other Team Members

  • Geneticist – A doctor who provides risk assessment for genetic disorders as well as diagnostic and therapeutic care for people with these conditions
  • Neurosurgeon – A doctor who specializes in treating the nervous system
  • Ophthalmologist – A doctor who treats eye disorders
  • Psychologist – A person with special training to help people with emotional or behavioral needs

Why Choose the Erlanger Cleft and Craniofacial Center?

  • Our multidisciplinary Cleft team is an ACPA Approved Team and has met the Standards of Team Care for Cleft and Craniofacial Teams set by the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association (ACPA). The ACPA Commission on the Approval of Teams has determined that the Erlanger Cleft and Craniofacial Center is capable of providing cleft and craniofacial care in a coordinated and consistent manner, that care provided by the Erlanger Cleft and Craniofacial Center follows the proper sequence and takes place within the framework of the patient’s overall developmental, medical and psychological needs. All approved teams in the U.S. and Canada are listed on the ACPA Family Services website
  • Specially trained pediatric experts from plastic surgery, otolaryngology, primary care, speech therapy, audiology, orthodontist/dentistry who work together to create the best plan of action for your child.
  • We help families overcome problems with cleft palate and craniofacial issues by identifying them as early as possible. Our team can begin coordinating pre-birth education as soon as deformities are detected on ultrasound exams. The Center provides education and coordinated treatment plans through every aspect of a child’s care – from birth to well into their adult years.   

Conditions We Treat

Cleft Lip and Palate

  • Cleft Lip and Palate
  • Craniofacial Clefts
  • Pierre Robin Syndrome

Skull Abnormalities

Dental/Jaw Deformities

  • Chin Deformities
  • Distraction Osteogenesis
  • Malocclusion
  • Pre-prosthetic Surgery
  • Trauma to the Jaws
  • Upper and/or Lower Jaw Deformities

Ear Deformities

  • Microtia
  • Hemifacial Macrosomia
  • Prominent or Constricted Ears

Other Syndromes and Conditions

Services We Offer

  • Pre-natal Consultation - Appointment after diagnosis of cleft lip or palate by the obstetrician where families meet the team coordinator/nurse practitioner. This appointment includes education about cleft lip and palate, expected outcomes, as well as education about team care
  • Head Deformity Clinic - Clinic for patients diagnosed with positional plagiocephaly or other concerns with their head shape
  • Multi-disciplinary Cleft Clinic - a multidisciplinary team visit (where the patient sees multiple providers in one visit) to monitor their overall health, dental health, speech, and to plan for any future surgeries or procedures needed
  • Speech Therapy - Our center has a specialized speech therapist that completed additional education in taking care of children with cleft and craniofacial disorders and their unique speech needs.
  • Coming Soon: Nasoalveolar Molding, Nasoendoscope, Vascular anomalies team

Craniofacial Resources

Meet Our Team

Craniofacial Speech Pathology

Audrey Smith, MS

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Audiology - Pediatric

Christina Heitzinger, Au.D.

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Craniofacial Care Pediatric Plastic Surgery

Katlin Hodges, FNP-BC

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Plastic Surgery Craniofacial Surgery Reconstructive Surgery

Todd E Thurston, MS, MD

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