Cleft lip with or without cleft palate is the most common birth difference affecting the face, occurring in 1 in every 600 live births. Clefts of the lip and palate can develop on one or both sides of the face and top jaw and can be complete or incomplete in nature. Initial surgeries directed at lip and palate repair commonly take place at about 3 months and 9-12 months of age, respectively. Later surgeries may be recommended to address deficient bone in the gumline, speech concerns, jaw position and nasal deformity. The goal of these surgeries is to restore jaw and facial structures, leading to normal function, improved appearance, optimal speech and hearing, healthful nutrition and age-appropriate emotional and psychological development.
It is so important to know that you and your family are not alone in your journey through cleft treatment. Your child’s surgeon is board-certified and fellowship-trained in pediatric cleft and craniofacial surgical care and is a member of the Providence Alaska Medical Center multidisciplinary cleft team. From the time of your prenatal consult through your child’s final cleft surgery, your specialized care team will assure that your child is expertly taken care of and your family is well-informed.