Cleft lip and palate is truly a social disease; the child has problems with appearance and often with speech and hearing as well. A classic surgical timetable would have most cleft lips repaired around three to four months of age, with cleft palate repair traditionally at one year. Often, such children require placement of tubes in their ears for proper venting to avoid loss of hearing. Both speech and hearing should be followed for years, with additional interceptive surgery for both as the need arises. Subsequent orthodontics, dental arch bone grafting and correction of associated nasal deformities extend the program well into the teenage years.
What a pleasure to defeat on of Mother Nature’s cruelest tricks on humanity. These kids go through a lot and deserve our patience and respect. Our orofacial clinic has been established, bringing together various specialties for evaluation of the special needs for such children.