When the two sides of the face do not join together properly in utero, a split in the lip and/or roof of the mouth can occur. This split is known as a cleft lip or cleft palate, and it is one of the most common birth defects. A team of specialists is usually involved in a cleft lip or palate repair, including an oral surgeon, dentist, a pediatrician. Depending on the child’s age, a speech pathologist may also be involved to help them establish proper articulation.
At Carolinas Centers for Oral & Facial Surgery, we have surgeons skilled and trained in oral and maxillofacial surgery with years of experience caring for children and adults with complex craniofacial needs. We use advanced technology, surgical techniques, and 3D virtual surgical planning to deliver natural-looking results. Learn more about our cleft and craniofacial surgeries, and explore your treatment options.
A Future of Hope
In the United States, 7,000 children are born with a cleft lip and/or palate. Many cleft cases appear to be due to genetic or environmental factors, but many times there is no clear known cause. Children born with these craniofacial conditions face challenges that affect speech and dental and facial development, and they may require long-term care and management.
Cleft lip and palate surgery has the power to restore hope and transform the lives of those affected by congenital anomalies. Dr. Kapitan and our multidisciplinary team of specialists offer a family-centered approach to care that is compassionate, advanced, and successful. Working together with you and your family, we help our patients achieve life-changing results to restore facial aesthetics and oral function.
Newborns and infants with a cleft lip or palate often have feeding difficulties as a result of their cleft. Special bottles and other tools can help, but surgical repair is necessary to correct the cleft once the child is old enough to undergo the procedure. Every cleft is different: a child may only have a cleft lip, or only a cleft palate, or both. The severity of the cleft varies too. The number of surgical procedures necessary to repair the cleft will depend on the extent of the child’s condition.
In general, a cleft lip is a simpler surgical procedure than a cleft palate, although both conditions can be corrected successfully. A child with a cleft lip will undergo one or two surgeries, with the first surgery around 3–6 months of age. The goal of a cleft lip repair is to correct the split in the lip to enhance function and facial esthetics.
Repairing a cleft palate is a more involved procedure, with the first surgery taking place between the ages of 6–12 months. Once the facial structures have developed more, around age 8, another surgery takes place to increase bone quantity in the upper jaw. More surgeries may be recommended as the child develops.
Bright Smiles, Beautiful Results
It is an absolute joy to see the progress that our brave patients make throughout treatment. We understand the delicate nature of these cases and provide the care and support necessary to help children and their families achieve a beautiful smile that shines from the inside out. Learn more about the cleft and craniofacial treatment we provide to children around the world.
We’re Here For You
We want you and your child to have the best life possible, and we will work hard to provide exceptional care and treatment results. To learn more about cleft and craniofacial surgery, contact the Carolinas Centers for Oral & Facial Surgery at (910) 725-1403 and schedule a consultation with our team. We are here to help you.