Cleft Lip and Palate Surgery

Whilst volunteering for an Operation Smile mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The patient was more impressed with the gift of his fun spectacles than his palate repair!

Cleft lip and/or palate is one of the most common congenital facial deformities.  Most often these deformities are recognised with ultrasound examinations during pregnancy.  I like to discuss the treatment process with the parents soon after diagnosis and prepare them for the care and treatment of their baby after birth. 

If it is an incomplete cleft of the lip only, the patient will most likely require one operation and nothing further.  However, this is the exception and most often these patients need help from many different specialists at various stages in their lives.  I have established a good team consisting of feeding sisters, ear nose and throat specialists, speech therapists, orthodontists and maxillofacial surgeons and co-ordinate treatment by the various specialists as needed.

Cleft surgery can be highly demanding given the range of variations in deformities and operating on babies is technically challenging considering their size. My initial training and subsequent association with Operation Smile has allowed regular exposure to this type of work, something which has resulted in many satisfying operations and optimal results.  


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