Face Terms

Syndromes in Dallas, TX

Your face is one of the most important identifying features of your physical body, designed to
allow critical survival behaviors (breathing, eating, smelling, hearing) as well as critical
emotional/social activities (talking, crying, explaining and expressing emotion, communicating
and interacting with others and with the surrounding environment). These complex purposes help
explain the complexity of facial design, as well as that of facial reconstruction and repair.

Over the past 20-30 years, we’ve developed extremely sophisticated techniques that allow us to
successfully correct all kinds of facial differences – giving children and adults the
individuality intended as well as the functionality required, even in the most difficult cases
of defect, anomaly, or damage. Below are some of the most common terms we’ll be using as we
evaluate, treat, and monitor your child’s facial-related procedures.

Acanthosis nigricans

Refers to the skin condition in which patches of dark, thick, soft skin develops on the neck, eyelids, and around the mouth.


Refers to anything having to do with the cheeks.

Craniofacial Anomaly

A visible, structural and/or functional difference affecting the head (cranium) and/or face.


Refers to a bone’s tip or end, forming the joint.

Facial tags

Refers to small bits of skin connected to the side of the head in front of, or near, the ear area.

LeFort I maxillary advancement

Refers to a technique in which we move the entire upper jaw forward into a more balanced,
healthy position after using traditional orthodontics to establish the best possible
relationship between the top and bottom dental arches.

Le Fort II midface advancement

Refers to a technique in which we move the middle area of the face forward within the head’s skeletal framework: this can help promote better breathing, a balanced profile, and a better bite.

LeFort III mid-upper facial advancement

Refers to a technique in which we move the upper and middle area of the face forward within the head’s skeletal framework: this can help promote better breathing, position eyelids/brows to provide proper eye cover and protection, improve vision, produce a balanced profile, and create a healthy bite.


Refers to the condition in which a child is born with an extremely wide mouth; this occurs as a result of the pre-jaw segments of the embryo’s first branchial arch merging incorrectly, during the first few weeks of pregnancy.

Malar Process or Surface

Refers to the flattened, curved area of bone that forms the bony outline and understructure for the cheeks; it’s also another name for the zygomatic bone.


Refers to the lower jaw – the only bone in the head with a moving joint rather than
a firm, immobile suture connection to other bones.


Refers to the upper jaw, which meets with the lower, moveable jaw at a joint near the ears.


Refers to the center section of the face, including the upper lip, the nose, and the front/sides of the cheeks.

Palpebral Fissures

Refers to the openings in the bony eye socket in which the eyeballs sit.

Temporal Bone

Refers to the bone that extends over the opening of the ear and forward toward the side of the eye on either side of the face.

Temporomandibular Joint

Refers to the powerful hinge joint where both the upper and lower jaws come together.

Zygomatic Arch

Refers to the arch formed by two bones meeting on over to the side of the cheek/eye socket areas of the face skeleton. The first one, the temporal bone, comes forward on the side of the skull, over the opening of the ear at the height of the eye; the second is located at the side of the cheek (zygomatic) bone.

Zygomatic Bone

Refers to the cheek bone, which connects to four different facial bones: the upper jaw, the temporal bone, the sphenoid bone, and the forehead (frontal) bone. This bone also helps form the bottom of the inside eye socket and temples: zygomatic comes from zylsislymore, meaning malar bone.

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