The pediatric specialists at the North Carolina Cleft and Craniofacial Center work together to provide comprehensive care for children with Moebius syndrome and other craniofacial differences. Moebius syndrome is a rare condition marked by facial paralysis or weakness that affects one or both sides of the face. Our board-certified medical professionals, including surgeons and speech and physical therapists, work as a team to diagnose and treat affected children and provide the best possible care. We are here for your child and family from initial consultation through treatment and aftercare.


Moebius syndrome is present at birth and is caused by impairment or absence of the sixth and seventh cranial nerves, which control eye movement and facial expression. This causes a number of common symptoms associated with the condition: misalignment of the eyes or crossed eyes and the inability to raise the eyebrows, close the eyelids or form smiles and frowns. Other cranial nerves may also be affected, with implications for hearing, feeding and speaking ability, as well as excessive drooling due to mouth closure difficulty. Malformations of the hands, feet, and chest can also occur.


Our pediatric specialists base every diagnosis on each child's symptoms, health history, and physical exam. No diagnostic tests can confirm the presence of Moebius syndrome, but tests may be used to rule out other causes of facial paralysis.


Our specialists collaborate to determine the best course of treatment for your child, based on their symptoms and challenges. We use a comprehensive approach to craft a unique treatment plan for each child. All team members, including pediatricians, neurologists, plastic surgeons, ear, nose, and throat specialists, orthopedists, dentists, speech pathologists, hearing specialists, eye doctors, and physical, occupational, and speech therapists, coordinate and align their services to meet each child’s and family’s needs.

Typical supportive measures include:

  • Feeding tubes or special bottles for infants who have difficulty with sucking and swallowing
  • Splints, braces and prostheses for children with affected limbs
  • Occupational, physical and speech therapy

Surgery may be necessary to improve eye movement and facial expression and correct limb abnormalities.

Surgical options include:

  • Surgery to correct crossed eyes and eyelid closure problems
  • Muscle or nerve transfer surgery to relocate nerve or muscle tissue from a different part of the body to the face to improve movement and sensation
  • Orthopedic surgery to correct club foot


Following treatment for Moebius syndrome, children receive continued supportive services, including close monitoring and occupational, speech, and physical therapy. Our experienced team of pediatric specialists collaborates to ensure that each child receives the best possible aftercare for the best possible outcome.