Cleft Lip & Palate Reconstructive Surgery Performed by Boston Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Bartlett
Cleft lip and palate is a congenital deformity that affects approximately one in 800 live births. Deformities can range from a barely noticeable notch in the lip to a complete bilateral (both sides) cleft lip and palate.
Patients who are in need of reconstructive surgery for their cleft lip and palate, or people who care for someone in need of the treatment, can schedule a consultation. This will allow them to learn more about the procedure and what it can offer.
The first step in the treatment of those with cleft lip/palate is a complete physical exam and careful history to determine if the child has any other health issues. Equally important is nutritional and feeding advice, particularly for children with a cleft palate since they often have difficulty sucking and may become malnourished if proper bottle and feeding techniques are not used.
Patients or parents/guardians of patients will be able to ask questions about the procedure and how they can prepare for it. A surgical treatment plan will be created, and a date will be set for the first procedure.
How Cleft Lip & Palate Treatment Works
Cleft lip reconstructive surgery is usually performed at approximately three to five months of age. Cleft palate repairs are performed between nine and twelve months of age. Patients are followed annually in the cleft lip and palate clinic. Speech therapy services and careful audiology (hearing) monitoring are also important. Many patients require secondary reconstructive surgery at various ages throughout childhood and into teenage years depending on their individual circumstances.
Recovery After Cleft Lip and Palate Reconstruction
After the cleft lip and palate reconstructive surgery, patients will need to rest for a week. During the recovery period, patients will feel some soreness and minor discomfort around the affected area. Medication for fighting off infection and to reduce pain will be prescribed, depending on the age of the patient.
Full recovery can occur between three to four weeks, after which the affected area will have fully healed. Tampering with the recently closed cleft is highly ill-advised. There must be no squeezing or application of pressure.
The cost for reconstructive procedures to deal with cleft lip and palate will depend on several factors. The patient’s age and the condition of the target area will determine the price of the treatment.
Arranging a Consultation
To schedule a consultation regarding repair of a cleft lip and palate in Boston, schedule a consultation by contacting our office today.For more information on cleft lip and palate repair, visit the Cleft Palate Foundation website.