Dr. Ian Hoppe examines Anna Claire Carlisle after surgery while her mother, Ariel Davidson, looks on.
Dr. Ian Hoppe examines Anna Claire Carlisle after surgery while her mother, Ariel Davidson, looks on.
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Surgery offers new outlook for children facing head, face deformities

Published on Monday, December 10, 2018

By: Annie Oeth,

Anna Claire Carlisle has plenty of smiles these days.

Dr. Ian Hoppe, who heads pediatric craniofacial plastic surgery at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, was the recipient of a few of Anna Claire’s smiles recently during a follow-up visit at Children’s of Mississippi’s Eli Manning Clinics for Children.

Hoppe's pediatric plastic surgery practice allows children with cleft lip and cleft palate anomalies to be treated at Batson Children's Hospital.

Earlier this year, Hoppe corrected Anna Claire’s cleft palate during a surgery at Batson Children’s Hospital.  

“He is an awesome doctor,” said Ariel Davidson, Anna Claire’s mom. “He has gone above and beyond for her. She caught RSV after surgery, and he would come to check on her every day, even after being in clinic all day.”

Hoppe has been performing surgeries including corrections of cleft lips, cleft palates and ear and skull deformities at Batson since late summer.

Cleft lip and cleft palate, among the most common birth defects in the U.S., occur when a baby’s lip or mouth do not form properly during pregnancy, leading to problems with feeding and speech. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that, each year, about 2,650 babies are born with cleft palates and about 4,440 babies are born with cleft lips.

Ian Hoppe

Hoppe, who earned his M.D. and was a resident at Rutgers in New Jersey, was a fellow in pediatric craniofacial plastic surgery at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

His area of expertise offers new challenges at every turn, he said. “Every case is different,” he said, “so every day is different.”

He is part of UMMC pediatric craniofacial team that also includes the medical disciplines of audiology, pediatric dentistry, speech pathology, neurosurgery, oral and maxillofacial surgery, ophthalmology, genetics and psychology.

Dr. Mary Taylor, Suzan B. Thames Chair, professor and chair of pediatrics, said the addition of Hoppe to the Children’s of Mississippi team means that children who need corrective surgery can get the care they need close to home.

“Providing specialty care needed by our children here in Mississippi is our mission,” she said “Having Dr. Hoppe’s skills as a surgeon and physician means that another level of expert surgical care is available at Batson.”

Dr. Christopher Blewett, Children’s of Mississippi surgeon in chief, said the recruitment of Hoppe means children with complex craniofacial anomalies and other conditions requiring the care of a pediatric plastic surgeon can receive care closer to home.

Portrait of Dr. Christopher Blewett

“For some time now, it has been necessary for infants and children with these types of conditions to travel outside of Mississippi to receive care,” Blewett said. “In his short time here, Dr. Hoppe has already clearly demonstrated that the children of our state will no longer have to travel far for crucial operations. We look forward to working with Dr. Hoppe as he builds the region’s premiere craniofacial program.”

Coming to Children’s of Mississippi, Hoppe said, is exciting, especially with a seven-story pediatric expansion under construction.

“The opportunity to be part of a new children’s hospital is definitely a check in the ‘positive’ box,” he said. “I didn’t know about the expansion until I came out to interview, but being included in the planning and development of surgical and outpatient areas is exciting.”

The expansion will include 10 more surgical suites as well as private neonatal and pediatric intensive care rooms, an imaging center designed for children and a pediatric outpatient clinic where specialists can offer follow-up care.

The $180 million expansion is partially funded through the Campaign for Children’s of Mississippi. The philanthropic effort has raised more than $67 million toward its $100 million goal.

Cleft lips and cleft palates, among the most common birth anomalies, can be corrected at Batson Children's Hospital.

Hoppe hopes to see the pediatric plastic surgery program, the only one in the state, grow in the state’s only children’s hospital.

“Right now, we have a very busy practice,” Hoppe said. About six to eight pediatric craniofacial plastic surgeries are performed at Batson Children’s Hospital a week.

Knowing how plastic surgery can change a child’s life keeps Hoppe motivated.

“It is amazing how just one surgery can help someone,” Hoppe said. “This is why I got into medicine.”