Cleft Lip & Palate Surgery in Florida
Cleft lip and cleft palate are two common birth defects that occur whenever tissues do not close normally during the development stage. Restorative surgery to correct these issues will ensure proper speech development, nutrition and dental health for children who suffer from cleft lip or cleft palate.
What is Cleft Lip & Palate Surgery?
A cleft lip involves a separation of the upper lip while a cleft palate involves an opening in the palate or roof of the mouth. These two conditions result whenever tissues fail to close normally during fetal development. Restorative surgery to close these gaps is needed to ensure healthy development.
Cleft lip surgery requires an incision be made on either side of the split. This will allow the surgeon to create flaps that can then be drawn together in order to close the gap. The final step involves securing tissues together with stitches.
During a cleft palate surgery, tissue is repositioned using advanced flap techniques to close the opening and rebuild hard and soft components. Special stitches are used to close the wound and are typically placed only in the center of it to allow for further expansion of the palate as the child grows.
A child may be diagnosed with either a cleft lip, cleft palate, or with both conditions simultaneously. As such, more than one surgery could be needed to correct the defects.
Benefits of Cleft Lip & Palate Surgery
A cleft lip or cleft palate can seriously hamper development; however, having surgery can:
- Promote the normal development of speech and hearing
- Allow the child to eat normally, ensuring there are no nutritional deficiencies
- Facilitate the normal eruption of baby teeth
- Ensure healthy breathing
- Allow for more normal development of the nose
Is Cleft Lip & Palate Surgery Right for Me?
Because a cleft lip or cleft palate can affect so many other aspects of a child’s development, your son or daughter’s pediatrician will likely recommend it unless there are other more serious health complications that would make surgery risky.
Elements of a Cleft Lip & Palate Surgery
Your child will be sedated to produce a light sleep. If sedation is given through IV, he or she might also be restrained as a precautionary measure. This is not done to punish your child, but rather to ensure that he or she does not subconsciously pull at the IV.
Once the anesthesia kicks in, the proper incisions and repairs will then be performed. All the while, your child will be carefully monitored to ensure that there are no complications. Monitoring will continue throughout the recovery phase, followed by at least a one night’s stay in the hospital.
How Involved is the Cleft Lip & Palate Surgery Procedure?
Cleft lip and/or cleft palate surgery may take between two and six hours. While it is a somewhat involved procedure, recent advances in surgical techniques now make it safer and more effective than ever before. Please speak with your child’s surgeon about any concerns you may have so that they can be addressed with you personally.
How Long is the Recovery After Cleft Lip & Palate Surgery?
It will take several weeks for complete healing and restoration. During that time, you must pay close attention to your child to ensure he or she does not place objects into their mouth or suck their thumb.
How Much Does a Cleft Lip & Palate Surgery Procedure Cost?
Prices will vary based on your individual case. Your board-certified plastic surgeon will provide you with additional information during your consultation.
Questions To Ask Your Cleft Lip & Palate Surgery Surgeon
- How will my child’s health be affected if he or she does not have surgery?
- What is the best age for surgery?
- Is cleft lip or palate surgery covered by insurance?
- My child has both a cleft lip and a cleft palate, which surgery do you recommend first?
What Should I do Next?
Cleft lip surgery may be performed as early as 10 weeks of age while cleft palate repair is typically done between the ages of nine and 18 months. You don’t have to wait until your child reaches that age before undergoing a consultation. Speak with a board-certified plastic surgeon, who will provide you with the steps you need to undertake in order to prepare for one of these life-changing procedures.
Parents are naturally anxious whenever their child receives a diagnosis of cleft lip or cleft palate. These moms and dads should know that an experienced b plastic surgeon can correct these defects, allowing children the chance to thrive as they grow older. Schedule an appointment with a board-certified plastic surgeon today!