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Pediatric Craniofacial Surgery

The Gulf Coast Cleft and Craniofacial Team is the region’s only multidisciplinary clinic specializing in the care of children with cleft and craniofacial deformities. Led by Dr. Aaron Wallender and comprising multiple community providers, including Sacred Heart and Children’s Medical Services, this comprehensive team incorporates medicine, surgery, dentistry, speech, nutrition and social services.  

What is Pediatric Craniofacial Surgery?

Dr. Wallender and the Gulf Coast Cleft and Craniofacial Team specialize in the complex management of children with cleft and craniofacial disorders. This includes the surgical treatment of cleft lip and palate, as well as skull and facial deformities such as craniosynostosis and hemifacial microsomia.

Our team also performs a surgery called mandibular distraction osteogenesis, which treats tongue-based obstructive sleep apnea for infants with a small jaw, a condition known as micrognathia. The surgery increases the size of an infant’s lower jaw and moves the oral soft tissues and tongue forward, away from the airway. This helps to resolve obstructive sleep apnea.

After surgery at The Children’s Hospital, infants are monitored by neonatologists in Sacred Heart’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

Surgery at The Children’s Hospital

As Northwest Florida’s only children’s hospital, The Studer Family Children's Hospital at Sacred Heart offers an entire team especially trained to care for children, including:

  • Pediatric radiologists
  • Pediatric anesthesiologists
  • Pediatric respiratory therapists
  • Pediatric dietary services
  • Pediatric social services
  • Pediatric physical, speech and occupational therapists

The Children’s Hospital also offers a medical staff of more than 120 board-certified physicians across 28 pediatric specialties.

About Dr. Wallender

AaronDr. Wallender Wallender, DDS, MD is the only pediatric craniofacial surgeon in West Florida and South Alabama. He practices with Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Associates and serves on the medical staff of The Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart.

Dr. Wallender received his bachelor’s degree from Missouri State University. He graduated as a doctor of dental surgery from the University of Missouri in Kansas City, where he was recognized with the Golden Forceps Award for excellence in oral surgery and for performing the most oral surgery procedures for his graduating class. Dr. Wallender then received his medical degree with distinction from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, where he was recognized with the Outstanding Leadership and Community Service Award. Also during medical school, Dr. Wallender completed an AO trauma fellowship at the Albert-Ludwigs University of Freiburg Clinic for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Head and Neck Plastic Surgery in Freiburg, Germany. Dr. Wallender completed his residency in oral and maxillofacial surgery at the University of Kentucky, followed by a fellowship in pediatric craniofacial surgery at the University of Florida in Jacksonville.  

Dr. Wallender has been published in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, and he has presented at the annual meetings of the American Academy of Craniomaxillofacial Surgeons and the Florida Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.

Dr. Wallender has participated in multiple international medical missions to Vietnam, Honduras, and the Philippines. He is one of the lead surgeons for Uplift Internationale, which provides annual surgical care to children born with cleft lip and palate in the Philippines.  

Dr. Wallender is a member of the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association, International Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and the American College of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.

Contact Dr. Wallender

Dr. Wallender performs surgeries at The Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart and sees patients at the offices of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Associates – located at 4850 N. Ninth Ave., Suite 4 in Pensacola and at 301 N. Cedar St. in Foley.

To schedule an appointment, call 850-477-1125 or visit his website.


Children's Hospital Services
UF Health
Pediatric Emergency Department
Pediatric After-Hours
Regional Neonatal & Pediatric Transport Services
Pediatric Surgery
Pediatric Neurosurgery
Pediatric Craniofacial Surgery
Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
Pediatric Oncology
Pediatric Infusion Center
Pediatric Rehabilitation Services
Autism Center
Pediatric Care Center
Child Life Department
Early Steps Program
Miracle Camp

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