We are a dedicated team of health-care professionals bonded together by the mission to provide our patients and their families with the finest in pediatric specialty care. We understand that a child or young adults with a complicated diagnosis requires a comprehensive multi-disciplinary team approach to evaluate and treat such a difficult problem. We have selected our team members to ensure we can provide the finest and most appropriate care for the diagnosis. Together, we evaluate, diagnose, treat, and support the ongiong needs of pediatric, adolescent, and young adult patients, with the overarching goal of enabling them to live normal and healthy lives.

Dr. Frank A. Vicari, MD, FACS, FAAP

Pediatric Plastic & Craniofacial Surgeon

Chief of Pediatric Plastic Surgery / Craniofacial Surgery,

Advocate Children's Hospital 

Dr. Frank A. Vicari is a Pediatric Plastic and Craniofacial Surgeon who, for the past 30 years, has been caring for children with complex congenital and acquired disorders throughout the Chicagoland area, and around the world. During this time, Dr. Vicari has pioneered new techniques and created new programs designed to serve children and families with difficult diagnoses. He was the first in the world to perform minimally-invasive, endoscopic-assisted craniofacial procedures for craniosynostosis. He has also pioneered mandibular distraction for airway management in children with hypoplastic (small) mandibles. Dr. Vicari has been responsible for the creation of such programs as the Congenital Hand Clinic and (more recently) the Head Shape Evaluation Program dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of children with "flat heads". The patients have facial or cranial asymmetry from positional molding, torticollis, or synostosis.

The craniofacial surgeon is a plastic surgeon with specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of skeletal abnormalities of the skull and facial bones. This surgeon participates in a broad spectrum of craniofacial problems including craniosynostosis, craniofacial clefts, craniofacial trauma and tumor excision and reconstruction. In patients with syndromic craniosynostosis (such as Treacher Collins, Crouzon, Apert, Saethre-Chotzen or Pfeiffer syndromes, or with simple craniosynostosis) the craniofacial surgeon and the pediatric neurosurgeon perform major facial and cranial osteotomies. Distraction osteogenesis may also be indicated for a variety of conditions. The application of innovative craniofacial techniques to the treatment of post-traumatic facial deformities, tumors of the head and neck, and anomalies of the base of the skull has greatly improved surgical results. One of the most innovative techniques is the minimal incision, endoscopic approach to patients with craniosynostosis. Dr. Vicari was the first in the world to pioneer this exciting and innovative approach. For children with alveolar clefts, he works with pediatric oral and maxillofacial surgeons, pediatric dentists, and orthodontists in planning and performing bone-grafting procedures.

Dr. Vicari is currently Chief of Pediatric Plastic Surgery / Craniofacial Surgery with the new Advocate Children’s Hospital, Lutheran General Hospital. He has been Clinical Asst. Professor of Surgery with the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine since 1991. He has surgical privileges with the following area hospitals: the Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Central DuPage Hospital and Highland Park Hospital, part of the Northshore University Hospital system.

Dr. Vicari holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and a Master of Science in Chemical Engineering. He worked as coordinator of R & D for Universal Oil Products, Inc., before attending medical school at Loyola University, Stritch School of Medicine. He then did residencies in General Surgery and Plastic Surgery at Loyola. Following his residencies, he completed fellowships in Pediatric Plastic Surgery and Craniofacial Surgery at the Hospital for Sick Kids in Toronto, Ontario and then at The Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, now the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Vicari's family includes his wife, three kids, three horses, and at least two dogs (but sometimes more). He loves his horse, Justifiable, the most, but everyone else is pretty cool too.

Emily Ryan, MS, PA-C

Pediatric Plastic & Craniofacial Surgery Physician Assistant

Emily joined the team as a Physician Assistant in 2013 because she is passionate about the field of pediatrics and has been working with children, in some capacity, for the past 10 years.  She earned a Bachelors degree from Loyola University Chicago, where she studied Forensic Science and Chemistry. After college she entered the health care field as a Nurse's Aide. She then went on to complete her Master's degree in Physician Assistant Studies from Midwestern University. Emily has been working as a PA in the field of pediatric plastic surgery ever since.

A physician assistant is a licensed health care professional that works in collaboration with the surgeon to diagfnosse and treat medical conditions or injuries, in this casse related to pediatric plastic surgery. The PA provides continuity of care by being a presence throughout the duration of a child's care and a resource for parents and caregivers to contact with questions before, during, and after treatment.  The PA is a familiar face for the child and the family because the PA may see the family for the initial visit, be with the child as they go into the operating room, and conduct follow up appoints after surgery. 

Christine Provenzano, RN

Clinical Nursing / Team Coordinator

Christine is a registered nurse who combines experience in pediatric nursing with specialization in the care of children with craniofacial disorders, cleft lip and palate, and orthognathic procedures and diagnoses.  While the Clinical Nurse serves many functions, one of the most vital is that of Team Coordinator and liaison between the family and craniofacial team.  The Clinical Nurse also coordinates evaluations and treatments, directs patients to the appropriate services, and follows up with the family regarding lab and pathology reports. Throughout the course of treatment and recovery, the nurse is available to provide educational guidance and emotional support to the patient and family.

We are especially fortunate to have a Clinical Nurse with a breadth of experience. Christine has been an outpatient practitioner in the field of Cleft and Craniofacial Surgery since 1999. Christine has worked in many areas of Pediatrics, including Pediatric Intensive Care. Christine has presented nationally on subjects related to Cleft and Craniofacial Surgery. She lectures regularly to students and faculty from multidisciplinary areas. She is currently a member of the American Cleft Palate and Craniofacial Association. Christine attends several conferences throughout the year related to Cleft and Craniofacial Surgery.

Julia Sanchez

Surgical Office Coordinator

Julia is the voice behind the phone. You will contact her after your visit to arrange a surgery date. She will also go over insurance information with you and assist you in obtaining pre-authorization for your child's procedure. She has been working with Dr. Vicari for over 15 years and therefore is very familiar with the protocols and processes involved in coordinating surgical care.

Rob Novak


Rob is an American Board Certified Orthotist and an Illinois licensed Orthotist. After graduating from Northwestern University Medical School in the Prosthetics and Orthotics Program in 2003, Rob began practicing pediatric orthotics at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. Within the head shape team, Rob often operates the STARscanner and performs data analysis. He has been intimately involved in the head shape evaluation clinic with Dr. Vicari from its inception. He has been an invited lecturer at national conferences and Northwestern's Prosthetic and Orthotic School on cranial remodeling. Rob also treats patients with torticollis, scoliosis, clubfoot, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, arthritis (other Rheumatologic disease), and sports injuries.