Cleft Lip/Cleft Palate
The most common pediatric congenital condition affecting the oro-facial region, the condition of cleft lip and cleft palate can range from very minor deformities (small deviations of the lip line and cupid’s bow) to severe deformities affecting dentition and development of the maxillary arch. These conditions almost always require a coordinated approach and strategy among plastic surgery, pediatric dentistry, and speech therapy.
Initially, correction of the lip is performed first to establish lip symmetry while also providing tension to the maxillary arch and allowing appropriate development and eruption of the upper teeth. It is not uncommon for a cleft to extend into the nasal sill and this area is also addressed, if necessary.
Children with this condition are always seen in consultation with other pediatric specialists, including otolaryngologists, dieticians, and on occasion, family genetic counseling.
A long-term plan is always developed so that corrective steps can be taken in advance to achieve normal facial growth and speech development while minimizing effects on developing body image and self esteem.