Normally in the early weeks of child development, the right and left sides of the upper lip and the roof of the mouth grow together and fuse. Occasionally, one or all of these structures fail to fuse resulting in a cleft lip and/or palate; a phenomenon which can be partial or complete. Over many years, surgeons and other health care providers have developed multidisciplinary teams to deal with cleft lip & palate and other associated problems that can occur. This team approach is critical in the care of these children as there are nutritional issues, social issues, speech & language development concerns, as well as the surgical issues that need to be addressed. There are many centers around the country that have comprehensive teams and while the seacoast area doesn’t currently, in the future this is something that we are planning to begin.
Until the time we do have a team in place, surgeons at our practice are trained to be involved in any aspect of the child’s surgical care, depending on their needs. If your child has been born with a cleft lip and/or palate, individualized treatment and a team approach can be initiated by surgeons at our office. We are willing to see your child at any point during the process from birth to any necessary revisions in adulthood. We will spend the necessary time to answer questions throughout the process and educate the entire family. We will also help support your family and foster an environment where your child can grow with the sense of self respect and self-esteem that goes well beyond the physical defect.