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The Rush Craniofacial Center is a multidisciplinary craniomaxillofacial center with an internationally recognized faculty. The center offers state-of-the-art care for patients with congenital and acquired craniomaxillofacial disorders. Common diagnoses for patients include cleft lip and palate, craniosynostosis, hemifacial microsomia, jaw and dental disorders, malocclusion, functional speech disorders, ear anomalies, nasal and airway problems, vascular malformations, acute and chronic traumatic facial injuries, and tumors of the head and neck.

Complicated patients are evaluated and managed by a multidisciplinary team, which includes a pediatric otolaryngologist, speech pathologist, audiologist, neurosurgeon, geneticist, ophthalmologist, orthodontist, plastic surgeon, pediatrician, pediatric anesthesiologist, social worker, psychologist and others as required.


Alvaro A. Figueroa, DDS, MS, is a dentist with specialty training in orthodontics and pediatric dentistry. He is co-director of the Rush Craniofacial Center in Chicago. His clinical and research interests are in craniofacial anomalies, with emphasis in orthodontic and surgical management, treatment results and craniofacial growth and development. His interest in the field started in 1976 when he did a fellowship in the Craniofacial Anomalies Section, National Institute of Dental Research in Bethesda, Md. He was the last orthodontic fellow of the late Samuel Pruzansky.

He has dedicated his entire professional and academic career to treating and learning about patients with clefts and craniofacial anomalies. He is a member of various professional associations including the American Association of Orthodontists, American Cleft Palate Craniofacial Association and International Society of Craniofacial Surgeons. He serves as a reviewer for various professional journals. He was a member of Council for the American Cleft Palate Craniofacial Association, was chairman of the Research Grants Committee and has participated in other committees. He is a member of the Medical Advisory Board for the Smile Train.
He has participated in various overseas treatment trips to help children with clefts and other craniofacial deformities, including Central America, the Caribbean, South America and Asia. He participates as an adviser for orthodontic graduate student thesis projects, has published over 95 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and lectures nationally and internationally. He was recipient of the "Best Paper of the Year" by the Journal of Craniofacial Surgery in 1997 as well as the Dewel Award from the editorial board of the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics in 1998. Through extensive clinical experience he and his partner of over 20 years, John W. Polley, MD, have developed distraction techniques that are used in the management of patients with maxillary and midface hypoplasia.

Alexander L. Figueroa, DMD, received his doctor of dental medicine degree at Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio. In addition, Figueroa obtained an orthodontics specialty certificate and a certificate in temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJD) at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Eastman Institute for Oral Health in Rochester, N.Y. Figueroa is actively involved in orthodontic and craniofacial research.



Child Psychology, Clinical

Faculty Rank: Assistant Professor
Medical or Graduate Education: Virginia Commonwealth University - Child and Adolescent Psychology
Internship: Rush University Medical Center - Child and Adolescent Psychology
Fellowship: Rush University Medical Center - Child and Adolescent Psychology
Clinical Expertise:
  • Adjustment to chronic illness
  • Brazelton neonatal neurobehavioral assessment
  • Developmental assessment
  • Developmental delay
  • Preterm infants, follow-up assessment
  • Psychoeducational assessment
  • Psychological assessment
  • Psychosocial oncology (coping with cancer)
  • Psychotherapy




Pediatric Otolaryngology

Board Certification:


Faculty Rank: Assistant Professor
Medical or Graduate Education: Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Residency: University of Minnesota Medical Center - Otolaryngology
Fellowship: Children's Hospital Colorado - Pediatric Otolaryngology
Clinical Expertise:
  • Airway disorders, pediatric
  • Airway endoscopy, pediatric
  • Ear infections
  • Laryngoscopy, pediatric
  • Nasal and sinus disorders, pediatric
  • Sleep apnea, pediatric
  • Supraglottoplasty
  • Tracheal surgery
  • Tympanic membrane perforation (perforated eardrum)



  • Child Psychology, Clinical
  • Psychology, Clinical
Board Certification:
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Brazelton Examiner
Faculty Rank: Associate Professor
Medical or Graduate Education: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Fellowship: University of Massachusetts - Neonatal Psychophysiology
Clinical Expertise:
  • Brazelton neonatal neurobehavioral assessment
  • Gifted children
  • Intellectual assessment
  • Learning disabilities
  • Neurodevelopmental assessment
  • Neuropsychological assessment
Research Interests:
  • Prevention of disability in high-risk premature infants
  • Neurobehavioral dysfunction in children with CNS injury
  • Neurocognitive factors in craniofacial and other congenital syndromes
  • Evaluation of pharmacological treatment of fragile X children
  • Assessment of gifted and talented children


Karen Tessler received her PhD in Speech Language Pathology from Northwestern University in 2003 and her MA in Speech Language Pathology from Northwestern University in 1990.​


  • Pediatric Otolaryngology
  • Otolaryngology
Board Certification:


Faculty Rank: Associate Professor
Medical or Graduate Education: Chicago Medical School
Residency: University of Illinois Medical Center - Otolaryngology
Fellowship: Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center - Pediatric Otolaryngology
Clinical Expertise:
  • Airway disorders, pediatric
  • Bronchoscopy, pediatric
  • Laryngeal surgery
  • Laryngoscopy, pediatric
  • Nasal and sinus disorders, pediatric
  • Supraglottoplasty
  • Swallowing disorders
  • Throat disorders
  • Tracheal surgery
Research Interests:
  • Laryngeal wound healing
  • Laryngeal growth factors



  • Genetics
  • Pediatrics
Board Certification:
  • Clinical Genetics
  • Pediatrics
Faculty Rank: Professor
Medical or Graduate Education: University of Hong Kong Faculty of Medicine
Residency: Children's Hospital of Winnipeg, Canada - Pediatrics
  Children's Memorial Hospital - Pediatrics
Fellowship: Children's Memorial Hospital - Clinical Genetics
  Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, England
Clinical Expertise:
  • Chromosome disorders
  • Congenital anomalies (birth defects)
  • Congenital malformations
  • Intellectual disability
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Prenatal diagnosis
Research Interests:
  • Amino acid disorders
  • Chromosome microarray analysis
Languages Spoken:
  • Chinese

Patients are referred to the Rush Craniofacial Center to be seen by our team of specialists. They may present with many different conditions, among these are:

  • Distraction osteogenesis
  • Craniofacial syndromes (Apert's, Crouzon's, Pfeiffer's, Klebbatschadel [clover-leaf skull], Saethre-Chotzen's, median facial cleft)
  • Cleft lip and palate
  • Dentofacial anomalies and deformities (congenital cleft-related, congenital noncleft-related, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, tumors and vascular conditions)
  • Micrognathia and Pierre Robine sequence
  • Hemifacial microsomia
  • Mandibulofacial dysostosis
  • Craniosynostosis
  • Acute and chronic traumatic deformities
  • Orthodontic deformities


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Accreditation and Recognition

Rush Craniofacial Center
1725 W. Harrison St.
Professional Building I
Suite 425
Chicago, IL 60612
Phone: (312) 563-3000
Fax: (312) 563-2514
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