What is a Cleft Palate?
Cleft Palate is a birth defect that affects 1 in 600 babies born each year in the United States. The condition occurs when the right and left sides on the roof of the mouth do not join correctly. The condition can affect only a small part of the back of the roof of the mouth (soft palate) or involve a complete separation (hard and soft palate). Cleft Palate may cause difficulty with speech and hearing as well as eating. Cleft Palate is surgically treated within the first 9-12 months of life and it may be seen with Cleft Lip.
Are there any risks associated with Cleft Palate Surgery?
It is believed to be caused by a combination of hereditary and environmental factors. While there are no known preventable causes of Cleft Palate, pregnant women are advised to take a folic acid supplement during their pregnancy to reduce their risk for babies born with Cleft Palate.
Cleft Palate Treatment
Surgery is always required to repair Cleft Palate. During the surgery, Dr. Duboys will close the opening in the roof of the mouth by rebuilding the palate. This also involves joining the muscle together to allow your child to speak and eat properly. Following the surgery speech therapy will assure a more normal speech.
Recovery from Cleft Palate Surgery
Cleft Palate surgery is a major operation and recovery will typically take a few weeks. To alleviate pain, medications are usually needed for the first few days after surgery. Your child will also have an intravenous line to deliver fluids, as feeding and drinking may be difficult at the beginning. You will receive detailed feeding instructions that should be followed during the first few weeks to allow proper healing of the palate.
Because cleft surgery frequently involves other disciplines a multidisciplinary team approach is taken with consultations and participation of multiple medical specialties, including pediatrics, otolaryngology, speech and hearing, orthodontists, oral surgery, genetics, social workers etc.
If you have any questions about Cleft Palate or its treatment, Dr. Duboys and the professionals at Associated Plastic Surgeons & Consultants, PC will be happy to help.
Why choose Long Island plastic surgeon Dr. Duboys?
As a world renowned expert in cleft surgery, Dr. Duboys has operated all over the word and has performed thousands of cleft surgeries. Dr. Duboys is the co-founder of the Stony Brook University Cleft & Craniofacial Team and headed the team for almost 25 years. Additionally, Dr. Duboys travels extensively throughout the world teaching cleft surgery in underdeveloped and underserved countries.
Schedule a consultation
If your child was born with a cleft palate, contact our Long Island office today. Call (631) 423-1000 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Elliot Duboys.