Dr. schmelzer  Rodney Schmelzer, MD   Dr. Morales   Louis Morales Jr., MD  

Program Length: One year
Total Number of Positions: One


The Craniofacial Foundation of Utah established this fellowship to offer a training opportunity for surgeons seeking advanced instruction in craniofacial surgery. The program is co-directed by Louis Morales Jr., MD, and Rodney Schmelzer, MD internationally known for their work in the field. Difficult and complex patients are referred from centers within Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona and Colorado, as well as nation wide and from other countries. This broad-based referral pattern coupled with Dr. Morales and Dr. Schmelzer’s reputation, provides the fellow with a high volume of otherwise rare and unusual problems.

Case numbers vary from year to year.

Average Case Numbers Per Year

Genioplasty 7-13
Lefort I osteotomy: >19
Bilateral sagital split osteotomy: 11
Cleft lip: 56-61
Cleft palate (first and second stage): 80-112
Pharyngeal flaps: 5-11
Nasolabial fistula closure: 34-45
Craniosynostosis: 47-49
Facial cleft: 4
Rigid external distractor placement: 34
Cosmetic and cleft rhinoplasty: 92-108
Formal face lift: 5-8
Mid face lift: 20-22
Neck lifts: 2-5
Endoscopic brow lift: 4-6
Blepharoplasty: 19
Otoplasty 6-14

Appointments generally begin July 1 of each year, but flexibility is available. The fellow works almost exclusively with Dr. Morales and Dr. Schmelzer’s team, assisting in the planning and treatment of all craniofacial cases. Fellows gain substantial experience in the diagnosis and surgical management of craniofacial deformities, congenital anomalies, and traumatic facial deformities. Not only will you receive significant exposure to all facets of craniofacial surgery, but aesthetic, reconstructive and general plastic surgery as well. Due to a busy, progressive cosmetic surgery practice, two in-office operating rooms are available for cosmetic patients and carefully selected reconstructive cases. These facilities are available for use to the fellow if he/she wishes to pursue an independent practice while active in fellowship training.

The research component of the fellowship program has been found to be very rewarding. Dr. Morales and Dr. Schmelzer enjoy experimenting with new and creative ideas as they relate to craniofacial surgery. Subsequently, ideas and research goals the fellows bring with them are welcome and nurtured. Existing research projects include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Novel multi-plane distraction devices for orthognathic processes.
  • Cleft lip and palate outcomes research (two-stage vs. single stage repairs).
  • Bone replacements in craniofacial surgery.
  • Bone grafting in cleft lip and palate patients.
  • Resorbable plates and screws for craniofacial fixation.

The fellow will be encouraged to present and/or publish 2 papers or book chapters during the fellowship.