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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.

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.

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.

For more information on cleft lip and palate repair, visit the Cleft Palate Foundation website.