Children born with cleft lip may suffer from social stigma if they grow to maturity without the condition being addressed because the condition makes them look weird and different from the other people.
The goal of cleft lip surgery is to repair the separation of the lip. Cleft lip is typically repaired between 3 and 6 months of age. During those first few months, your child is monitored closely for adequate weight gain and nutrition, and to make sure that there are no issues relative to breathing while feeding.
There are a variety of techniques that may be used to repair a cleft lip. The most common type of cleft lip repair is a rotation advancement repair.
The plastic surgeon will make an incision on each side of the cleft from the lip to the nostril. The two sides of the lip are then sutured together, using tissue from the area to rearrange and close the lip as needed. In addition to closing the lip, cleft lip repair realigns the muscle of the upper lip to provide normal lip function and facilitate suckling.
Babies with cleft palate have difficulty talking, breathing, and swallowing food properly. The main goal of the palatoplasty surgery is therefore to correct this anomaly and enable the patient to breathe, swallow, and speak without much difficulty.
Palatoplasty surgery is performed around 9 months up to 1 yrs age, before the child learns to talk.
The surgery is followed by Speech therapy, till the child develops normal speech.
Cleft Lip Revision
Cleft lip repair requires multidisciplinary follow-up throughout a child's life and often requires lip revision surgery in adolescence to restore function and symmetry of the lip.
New methods of secondary reconstruction can be divided into superficial or muscle related. Recent suggestions for superficial reconstruction include botulinum toxin injection, silicone gel sheeting, local flap reconstruction, fat grafting, and CO2 laser ablation. Suggestions for muscular reconstruction include pedicled prolabial flaps, modified Abbe flap, and orbicularis oris eversion.
Cleft Lip Nose Deformity
The primary nasal deformity in a child with Cleft lip and palate will be corrected to a certain extent along with the Cleft lip repair.
The nasal deformity persists as the underlying bony base is also deficient and chages appear as the child grows till the completion of facial bony growth.
Rhinoplasty in these children can be done from 13 yrs of age to correct the deformity and to achieve facial symmetry so that they do not face any social stigma and can have a normal life.