Plastic Surgery – working with soft tissue

Maxillary Surgery – working with bones

Cleft lip and cleft palate is mostly caused by lack of folic acid  in the mothers diet.  At 9 weeks gestation, the skull bones connect.  This is when malformation can occur.

Cleft lip – lip and gum are separated under the nose in a formation of upside down “V”. 

Cleft Lip Surgery closes the lip muscles and completes the gum.

Cleft Palate – A hole of varying degrees in the roof of the mouth.  Nourishment filters through the nose.

Cleft Palate Surgery closes off the hole in the roof of the mouth.

Lip Revision – years after cleft lip surgery, the lip muscles in the center need to be reattached as the face grows larger.  If not done, the nose is pulled down and appears flat.
Speech can be affected.

Tongue Flap to Palate Fistula Surgery – A fistula is a small or large hole that fluids can pass through.  A palate fistula is “plugged” surgically by a flap from the back of the tongue.  It stays as an ‘attachment’ for 8 weeks.  At that time, a surgeon releases the flap from the tongue as it has become integrated with the palate.  AMAZING!

Maxillary Advancement Lafort 1 surgery – reconstructive facial surgery to bring the upper jaw into better alignment with the lower jaw.  Facial bones must be broken and adjusted (pulled forward) sometimes with the help of a piece of hip bone.  Can be a 5+ hour long surgery.  Prominent jaw can be caused by environmental exposure to the mother who works in the farming industry.

It is important to fix cleft lips and palates in babies and young children before the child learns to speak.  If not, the brain learns the speech pattern  and it is difficult to relearn.