Craniofacial surgery is a sub-specialty of plastic surgery. At our practice, craniofacial surgery is performed by surgeons who have completed specialized fellowships in Craniofacial Surgery.
Cleft lip with or without cleft palate are among the most common and disfiguring facial abnormalities. While the severity of these abnormalities can differ, they result from tissues of the face not joining properly during development. Craniofacial clefts can be either unilateral (one sided) or bilateral (affecting both sides of the face). The complexity of these abnormalities requires coordination between numerous health care practitioners to provide comprehensive care and promising outcomes.
What does a cleft lip/cleft palate surgery procedure involve?
Cleft lip surgery is performed between 3 and 6 months and involves closure of the lip defect and the alveolar defect. At the time of cleft lip repair a primary rhinoplasty of the tip of the nose is required through minimal incisions. The surgery will allow the patient to feed better and also to guide the growth of the maxilla. Repositioning of the upper lip and nose is achieved with this surgery.
Cleft palate surgery is done preferably between 12 and 15 months. The timing of the palate surgery is important for speech development. The palate surgery involves closure of the nasal and palatal mucosa and repositioning of the levator muscle in its anatomical position. The goal of the surgery is normal speech development and feeding ability.
Patients with cleft lip repair will have the sutures removed after 1 week. Patient can resume milk intake the day after surgery. Patients with cleft palate will be on soft diet for 4 weeks. Patients can expect 2 weeks recovery time for cleft lip repair and 3 weeks recovery time for cleft palate repair. Speech therapy will help with speech development and acquired sounds.
In some cases, subsequent surgeries are required. Patients with cleft lip and palate are often undergoing further surgeries for symmetry, velopharyngeal insufficiency, oro-nasal/alveolar fistulas and rhinoplasty. The patient will undergo orthodontic treatment and when the growth of the maxilla is complete, will be evaluated for orthognathic surgery.
What are some of the additional craniofacial diagnoses treated at The Institute for Advanced Reconstruction?
- Craniosynostosis is the premature fusion of the cranial sutures leading to skull deformities and brain development issues. Vault remodeling of the skull is required to allow normal shape and neurophysiologic development of the growing child. The surgery is performed together with a pediatric neurosurgeon. Our center is at the highest national and international standards in the treatment of these pathologies.
- Craniofacial clefts
- Hemifacial microsomia
- Microtia and other congenital ear deformities
- Vascular anomalies
- Micrognathia and Pierre robin sequence
- Tumors of the face and skulls
- Traumas of the face and skulls
- Corrective jaw surgery