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Cleft Lip and Palate Surgery to Improve Appearance and Function Cleft lip and palate are congenial birth defects affecting the upper lip and roof of the mouth. They occur when the baby’s upper lip and the lower lip do not form completely. Also known as orofacial clefts, these defects happen during the early stages of pregnancy. A cleft lip is an opening in the upper lip which occurs when the tissue of the lip does not join completely before birth. The opening may be small or large, on one side or both sides of the lip, and go up into the nose. A cleft palate can occur along with a cleft lip and is caused when the tissues of the roof of the mouth do not join correctly. Cleft lip palate repair is the plastic surgery procedure performed to correct this abnormal development, and restore function and a more normal appearance.


http://www.hpcsurgery.com

1-713-791-0700

Causes of and Problems Caused by Cleft Lip and Palate The exact causes of the condition are unknown, though researchers have put forward several theories. The conditions are believed caused by a combination of genetics and environmental factors, such as defective genes, smoking, viral illness and drinking in early pregnancy and a lack of folic acid in the mother's diet. They can occur on their own (non-syndromic) or can sometimes occur due to certain birth defects (syndromic). Children with this condition can face: • Feeding issues • Hearing impairment • Dental and orthodontic issues • Speech problems • Reduced self-esteem • Social isolation Treatment The ideal time for the infant to undergo cleft palate repair will depend on individual


http://www.hpcsurgery.com

1-713-791-0700

circumstances. Cleft lip repairs can be performed when a child completes at least 10 weeks of age and 10 pounds in weight with a minimum blood count of 10. On the other hand, cleft palate repairs are done when a child is between 9-18 months of age. Cleft Lip Surgery Procedure The initial stage of the surgery involves making pre-operative adjustments using nasal alveolar molding (NAM). Using a specific dental impression material, the plastic surgeon makes an upper jaw mold with an acrylic plate, which is fitted into the baby’s mouth. Based on the growth of the bone, the acrylic plate is adjusted to promote a more anatomic alignment. Gradually, the lip tissues also become better aligned, improving the lip alignment. The next stage is nasal correction which involves placing a separate stent from the molding plate extending towards the nostril. This surgery improves the lining of the nose and improves aesthetics. The duration of nasal alveolar molding depends on the child and the severity of the condition. If the deformity is severe, then the time taken would be


http://www.hpcsurgery.com

1-713-791-0700

more. Nasal alveolar molding is of great advantage for patients with bilateral cleft lip and palate. The outcome of the surgery will greatly improve quality of life of the child, enhancing the ability to breathe, eat and speak. In most cases, secondary procedures may be needed to improve function or appearance.


Cleft lip and palate surgery to improve appearance and function