Research topics: Craniofacial and pediatric surgery

Kamlesh Patel, MD, is a leader in craniosynostosis and cleft lip and/or palate research. He has an active clinical research program, engaging medical school students, residents and other trainees. His laboratory is supported by the Children’s Hospital Foundation.

Currently, Patel’s lab focuses on the following:

1. Optimizing value-based multidisciplinary team care for patients with cleft lip and/or palate by informed by patient-centered outcomes and accounting for patient and family burden. These efforts have already significantly reduced patient wait time and unnecessary clinic visits without compromising patient care.

2. Measuring neurodevelopmental outcomes following endoscope-assisted repair of craniosynostosis. This work follows the lab’s groundbreaking work demonstrating equivalent head shape, reduced cost and fewer complications via endoscopic repair across multiple forms of craniosynostosis.

3. Imaging skull bones via MRI. Currently, CT is the standard for imaging skull bones. The excellent image quality comes at a high price: the radiation from head CTs is known to increase the risk of brain cancer – especially in children receiving multiple CT’s. MRI, on the other hand, does not involve any radiation, but is not generally suited for imaging bone. Collaborating with Hongyu An, DSc, in the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, Patel’s lab is involved in the development of novel MRI sequences and post-processing to create images of the skull, allowing for easy diagnosis of conditions including fractures and craniosynostosis via MRI.

4. Anthropometric and patient-reported outcomes in patients with congenital craniofacial conditions. This work focuses on the interplay between physical appearance and psychological and social factors. Recent work uncovered a divergence in the views of surgeons, patients and their parents. Taking patient and parent perspectives into account transforms patient care.