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St. Louis Cleft-Craniofacial Center at Cardinal Glennon 
cleft-lip, cleft-palate, craniofacial team at cardinal glennon children's hospital in st. louis 

The Cleft-Craniofacial Team at
SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center


Watch a video about Sophia, a little girl who has undergone treatment at SSM Cardinal Glennon for her cleft lip and palate. Click here or scroll to the bottom of the page.

See Sophia now in this Town & Style feature.

Unique human qualities

Our appearance and ability to speak are unique human qualities that allow us to interact with others. This interaction is critical for children, as they are still developing their social identities and communication skills.

Children born with cleft lip-nose-palate and craniofacial conditions often have problems with appearance and speech. A pediatric plastic surgeon trained in craniofacial surgery can reshape the bones of the skull, face, and jaws to improve appearance and function, as well as the cartilage and soft tissues of the face, eyelids, ears, nose, lips, palate, and tongue. 

The goal of St. Louis Cleft-Craniofacial Center is to improve the unique human elements of the child: to look more normal, to have more normal speech, and to be able to function more normally in their growth and development.

Finding the best solutions, for individual needs

Each child is different and so each cleft or craniofacial diagnosis is also different. We are committed through every step, from evaluation, consultation, and innovation, to work for your child's individual needs.

A caring team to best care for your child

Multiple specialists

The St. Louis Cleft-Craniofacial Center is directed by Dr. Alexander Y. Lin with Dr. Christina Plikaitis, plastic surgeons who specialize in cleft-craniofacial surgery, and Debbie Watters, our clinical nurse coordinator.

A multidisciplinary team approach includes our Head Shape Clinic with a physical therapist to work on neck muscle problems (torticollis), and the St. Louis Cleft-Craniofacial Center with a full team including Speech Language Pathology specialist for evaluating and treating speech issues. 

Open and direct communication

It's important for parents to understand their child's condition as completely as possible. Communicating with parents and children in a clear-cut and understandable way is an essential part of our mission.

Nationally affiliated

We are designated an Affiliated Team by the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association (ACPA), the governing association of cleft-craniofacial centers.

Conditions we treat

Our multidisciplinary cleft and craniofacial team allows for your child to see multiple specialists for comprehensive care of these complex conditions.

Cleft Lip and Palate

Complex Craniofacial Syndromes

Cranial Deformities


In situ Osteogenesis


Discharge instructions

Cleft Lip Repair

Cleft Palate Repair

Pharyngeal Flap/Sphincter Pharyngoplasty

Additional resources

American Cleft Palate – Craniofacial Association

Cleft Palate Foundation

Cleft Palate Feeding Video 
Now in English, Spanish and Mandarin!
from the Cleft Palate Foundation

If you need bottles, please contact


Meet the Team


Plastic Surgery

Alexander Y. Lin, MD, FACS - Director, St. Louis Cleft-Craniofacial Center

Christina Plikaitis, MD - Pediatric Plastic Surgeon

Debbie Watters, RN, BS - Clinical Nurse Coordinator (email)


Sarah Duncan, MS, CCC-A

Julie McAllister, MS, CCC-A

Maria Cabonce, MS, CCC-A

Carole Mange, AuD, CCC-A

Laura Ortmann, M.S., CCC-A

Kenny Marciniak, AuD, CCC-A


Dental Services

Gus Sotiropoulos, DDS

Donald Oliver, DDS, MS

Jim Klarsch DDS, MS



Denise Broeker, RN, BSN, IBCLC 


Speech Therapy

Loretta Laurent, MS, CCC/SLP



Stephen Braddock, MD
Director of Pediatric Genetics

Katherine Christensen, MS 
Genetic Counselor


Occupational Therapy

Sue Stuppy, OTR


Otolaryngology (ENT)

John Stith, MD
Director of Pediatric Otolaryngology (ENT)

Alicia McGlaughlin, MSN, RN, CPNP

Laura Misuraca, RN



Joel Nadler, PhD


Sleep Services

Shalini Paruthi, MD
Director of the Pediatric Sleep and Research Center


Contact Us

For questions, to make a cleft lip/palate or craniofacial appointment or for more information, please call Debbie at 314-577-5368 or email her at


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