Cleft lip and cleft palate reconstruction is a type of plastic surgery to correct the incomplete formation of the upper lip (cleft lip) or roof of the mouth (cleft palate) both to restore function and create a more normal appearance. Most clefts are repaired through specialized plastic surgery techniques.
At Albany Medical Center, our plastic surgeons have substantial experience in performing cleft lip and palate surgery. To correct the incomplete formation of the cleft lip, incisions are made on either side of the cleft to create flaps of tissue that are then drawn together and stitched to close the cleft.
To repair a cleft palate, our plastic surgeons utilize specialized flap techniques to reposition the tissue and muscles to close the cleft and rebuild the roof of the mouth. After careful incisions are made, the repair is then stitched and closed.
After surgery, bandages are applied on the outside of the mouth. Children must refrain from touching the site and may be required to wear arm restraints to prevent injury to the surgical site as it heals.
The outcome of a child’s initial cleft lip and/or cleft palate repair will make a vast difference in his or her quality of life, ability to breath, eat and speak. Additional procedures may be needed to refine appearance.