CLEFT LIP AND PALATE
Cleft lip and palate is one of the commonest birth abnormalities worldwide. The incomplete development of the upper lip (cleft lip) or roof of the mouth (cleft palate) can vary in severity and may involve one or both sides. Surgery is required to repair these conditions.
REPAIR IS MORE THAN JUST COSMETIC
Surgery to repair a cleft lip or palate is highly individualised and a specialised skill obtained with years of training. Surgery is required to close the defect, but also to ensure normal growth and function. Clefts are associated with abnormalities of the nose, or jaw and further procedures might be necessary later on in life.
Timing and types of procedures
Cleft lip is usually repaired before 6 months of age depending on health status
Cleft palate is usually repaired after cleft lip repair at around 9-18 months of age
These procedures may be delayed in order to treat other, more life-threatening problems such as a heart or lung disorder
Depending on the severity of the cleft, pre-operative interventions may be used, such as taping of the cleft lip, orthodontic naso-alveolar moulding, or staged surgery
Other surgeries may be required over time including ear tubes to treat fluid in the middle ear, bone grafting to repair the jaw line, and other dental or jaw surgery to improve bite
Surgical repair of a cleft lip or palate is performed under general anaesthetic and involves at least one night overnight stay.
Repair of a cleft lip without a cleft of the palate, uses a special technique to join the two sides of the lip that have not united, leaving a scar that is less obvious by gradually blending into the surrounding tissues and becomes less obvious.
Repair of a cleft palate is a more complicated and might involve more than one surgery. Dr Sofianos relocates tissue from either side of the defect to close it.
During the surgery, and for a short time postoperatively, your baby will have an intravenous drip in place to provide hydration until he or she is able to drink orally. Once able to take orally, the nutritionist will assist with a feeding regimen.
Dr Sofianos uses dissolving stitches, which will not require removal.
Early on, the baby might have nasal congestion, a blood-tinged discharge from the nose or mouth, some swelling and decreased appetite.
Dr Sofianos and his team will support you and your child’s recovery and will be available to provide assistance with warmth and clear, concise communication.