Cleft Lip & Cleft Palate Surgery

cleft Lip Surgery

cleft Lip Surgery

Correct Abnormal Development

Cleft lip and cleft palate repair is a type of plastic surgery to correct abnormal development both to restore function and to restore a more normal appearance.

Your child’s cleft lip and palate repair

Cleft lip (cheiloschisis) and cleft palate (palatoschisis) are among the most common birth defects affecting children in North America.

The incomplete formation of the upper lip (cleft lip) or roof of the mouth (cleft palate) can occur individually, or both defects may occur together. The conditions can vary in severity and may involve one or both sides of the face.

Cause/Repair

A cleft, or separation of the upper lip and/or the roof of the mouth, occurs very early in the development of your unborn child. During fetal development, certain components of the upper lip and roof of the mouth fail to form normally. Cleft lip and cleft palate repair is a type of plastic surgery to correct this abnormal development both to restore function and to restore a more normal appearance.

Most clefts can be repaired through specialized plastic surgery techniques, improving your child’s ability to eat, speak, hear and breathe, and to restore a more normal appearance and function.

More than a cosmetic repair

Surgery to repair a cleft of any kind is a highly individualized procedure that’s intended to not only close the defect, but also to insure your child’s ability to function and grow normally.

 

Cleft lip repair, also called cheiloplasty, includes reconstruction of a more normal appearance, namely:

  • Closure of the cleft resulting in a scar located in the normal structures of the upper lip
  • Formation of a cupid’s bow (the curve at the center of the upper lip)
  • Considerations for adequate distance between the upper lip and nose

 

Because the palate creates the floor of the nasal cavity, considerations in repairing a cleft palate include:

  • Allowing for normal growth, function and speech development
  • Relation of the palate to the auditory canal and hearing
  • Development of the teeth and jaw alignment

 

Where the cleft also affects the shape of the nose, additional procedures may be recommended to:

  • Achieve symmetry between the nostrils
  • Create adequate length of the columella (the tissue that separates the nostrils)
  • Increase the angle of the nasal tip, to avoid a flattened nasal tip or one that pulls downward

 

When should my child have the surgery?

The timing of the cleft repairs depend on the individual circumstances of your child.

Cleft lip repairs are initially performed when a child is at least 10 weeks of age and 10 pounds in weight and has a hemoglobin (or blood count) of at least 10.

Cleft palate repairs are generally performed when a child is somewhat older, from 9 to 18 months of age.

Cleft repair may be delayed in order to treat other, more life-threatening problems that may be present such as a heart or lung disorder.