Cleft Lip and Palate Surgery
Cleft palate and cleft lip affect about 7,000 newborn babies in the United States each year.
Surgery can correct the functional and cosmetic defects of the disorder and improve your child's ability to speak and smile with confidence.
What else makes this procedure life-changing?
Early Surgery Can Have Positive Lifelong Effects
Establish a Healthy Diet for Your Child
Correcting a cleft lip or palate can improve your child's ability to eat and receive the proper nutrients.
Positive Long-Term Outcomes
The scars remaining after surgery are usually discreet, suit the natural contours of the face, and fade over time.
Prevent Developmental Issues
Addressing a cleft lip or palate early and receiving the support of a dentist can usually prevent future speech problems and issues with tooth development.
Fortunately, Cleft Lip and Palate Are Largely Isolated Birth Defects
*According to the UC Davis Children's Hospital
But Is the Surgery Safe for My Child?
No surgery is without risks. However, a study performed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found a very low complication rate of about 3.1 percent in patients who received cleft lip and nasal repair within approximately one month of birth.
The Cleft Lip Procedure
Most cleft lip procedures are performed when the child is three to six months old. However, your surgeon may recommend waiting if your child has a cleft palate. Although each surgery is performed on a case-by-case basis, here is what you can generally expect:
Your surgeon will place your child under general anesthesia to ease him or her into a deep sleep.
The surgeon will carefully trim excess tissue and suture it back together during the one to two hour surgery.
Most patients receive dissolvable stitches and are left with a small visible scar, which should fade over time.
Your child will stay in the hospital for up to a week after surgery and should reach full recovery within 4 weeks.
If your child has a cleft palate, they may need more than one surgery to fully resolve the defect.
The number of surgeries needed will depend on how serious the defect was. Your oral and maxillofacial surgeon can work with plastic surgeons and orthodontists to ensure healthy teeth development and highly cosmetic results.
A Specialist Focuses on Both Function and Appearance
An oral and maxillofacial surgeon plays an important role in this treatment. By helping to restore the jaw and face to their normal function and appearance, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon can help your child on their journey to improved speech, hearing, and confidence.
Do not wait to speak to a surgeon. Early intervention can help your child develop normal speech habits, healthy nutrition, and begin to build a strong sense of self-confidence for lifetime happiness. Contact a doctor today to find out more about cleft lip and palate surgery.