Cleft Lip Palate Reconstruction
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
This surgery includes the reconstruction of the lip and palate of children afflicted with Cleft Lip and Palate deformity to create a more normal appearance.
There are three major types of commonly used procedures in cleft lip and palate reconstruction:
- Cleft Lip Repair: Usually when the baby is about 3 months old. The goals of cleft lip repair are to close the cleft and improve the shape and symmetry of the upper lip and nose. If the cleft lip is wide, special procedures like lip adhesion or nasal alveolar moulding (NAM) might help bring the parts of the lip closer together and improve the shape of the nose before the cleft lip repair.
- Cleft Palate Repair: A cleft palate usually is repaired with surgery called palatoplasty when the baby is 10–12 months old. The goals of palatoplasty are to: Close the opening between the nose and mouth; Help create a palate that works well for speech; Prevent food and liquid from leaking out of the nose.
The length of a person’s recovery depends on the extent of the reconstruction. Your child will need a liquid diet for a week or two, then will eat soft foods for several more weeks before going back to his or her regular diet. You may be asked to keep your baby in special sleeves that prevent the elbows from bending. This is so your baby can't put any fingers or hard objects into the mouth, which could make the cleft palate repair come open.
Since these deformities affect the mid-face region, cleft lip and palate are the only manifestations at birth. As the child grows, there will be additional developmental deformities noticed in the upper lip, cheek projection, teeth eruption and nose development. Depending on the extent of these, the child will possibly undergo anywhere between 5-8 surgeries major surgeries till the age of 18. The parents need to keep in mind these scenarios as well
Every procedure involves inherent risks. Although serious complications are extremely rare, Dr. Date educates every patient about potential risks.
Those risks can include scarring, the opening of the wound, discomfort for several days, bruising around the surgical sites, infection, bleeding, skin necrosis and general anaesthesia-related issues.