Driscoll Children’s Craniofacial and Cleft Center

Kevin Hopkins, MD, recognizes that his job as a pediatric plastic surgeon is much more than healing the wounds of children. The work he does also helps his patients fit in with their peers and gives them a better chance to lead healthy, normal lives.

Kevin Hopkins, MD, and Vanessa Dimas, MD, are plastic surgeons at Driscoll Children’s Hospital’s Craniofacial and Cleft Center. They provide care for patients across South Texas, including Corpus Christi and satellite clinics in Brownsville, Harlingen, McAllen and Laredo.

“The work we do here is so rewarding,” Driscoll Children’s Hospital’s Craniofacial and Cleft Center’s Dr. Hopkins said. “We talk about giving our patients their normalcy back. That’s our goal. We want our patients to go on and lead successful and joyous lives, and we do what we can on our end to help that happen.”

The Driscoll Children’s Hospital Craniofacial and Cleft Center—headed by plastic surgeons Dr. Hopkins and Vanessa Dimas, MD—is dedicated to providing comprehensive craniofacial and cleft care to the children of South Texas. The Craniofacial and Cleft Center is located in Corpus Christi and serves South Texas with satellite clinics in Brownsville, Harlingen, McAllen and Laredo. It is the only facility of its kind in South Texas.

“I’m from San Antonio, so I’ve loved South Texas all my life,” Dr. Dimas said. “I’m so proud to be in Corpus Christi and in all our clinics in the Rio Grande Valley and Laredo. Having a facility like this in Corpus Christi, as well as the satellite clinics, is such an advantage for all the children in South Texas. We’re in a convenient location for such a large segment of this state, and we offer state-of-the-art care.”

The Craniofacial and Cleft Center treats about 400 patients a year who have overcome physical challenges ranging from congenital cleft lips and skull abnormalities to burns and dog attacks.

“Some of our patients we’ve been working with from birth and others have had a traumatic injury later in life,” Dr. Hopkins said. “In either case, our goal is the same: to get patients healthy physically and in a good place to go on with the rest of their lives.”

Children with craniofacial anomalies, whether congenital or acquired, frequently have medical and social concerns above and beyond the anatomical defect. The Craniofacial and Cleft Center was established to provide optimal care and improve the quality of life for patients and families of children with facial differences. That includes ensuring the patients receive proper speech and hearing therapy as well as dental care on a regular basis.

“When we’re finished with a surgery or a procedure, we’re not done,” Dr. Hopkins said. “We continue seeing our patients to make sure they’re completely back on track as far as their speech and hearing go and to assist with any dental challenges they may face.”

The Craniofacial and Cleft Center team works diligently to provide early diagnoses, compassionate care and holistic management to patients with congenital or acquired anomalies of the face and craniofacial region. The Craniofacial and Cleft Center team embraces the internationally recognized and accepted treatment parameters put forth by the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association and never lose sight of the patient as a unique individual.

“We appreciate the fact that as children grow and develop, their challenges and needs change,” Dr. Dimas said. “Recognizing this, we are always determined to change and adapt with the patient and the family.” As is the case throughout Driscoll Children’s Hospital, there is a familial feel at the Craniofacial and Cleft Center. Seeing a lot of their patients from birth, Dr. Hopkins and Dr. Dimas create bonds with their patients and their families. They celebrate those relationships each year with a Craniofacial and Cleft Center reunion that brings together current and former patients for a relaxing afternoon outside the hospital environment.

“We see 400 or so children a year and you never lose track of them,” Dr. Hopkins said. “A lot of times, you’re working with them from the day they’re born, and from then on, they’re your patients. Our team members are all essential in helping these young children to succeed in life. They’re kind of your patient for life. We love our kids. We really do think of this as one big family and we think of the patients as our extended family. We do things like the reunion to celebrate that relationship.” It’s a relationship that’s valuable to the surgeons and staff at Driscoll Children’s Hospital’s Craniofacial and Cleft Center.

“We’re here for the children of South Texas, from the Rio Grande Valley to Laredo to Corpus Christi and all areas in between,” Dr. Hopkins said. “We say that with a great sense of responsibility and we say that with pride. South Texas is our home and our patients are our family.”