Cleft Palate/ Lip in Dallas, TX
A cleft lip/palate is formed in utero and is one of the most common birth defects among babies all over the world. Board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Charles A. Wallace, M.D., performs reconstructive surgery to correct this congenital deformity on patients living in and around Plano and Frisco, as well as other areas around, Dallas, TX.
What is a Cleft Lip/Palate?
In utero, parts of the face individually form then join together as the pregnancy progresses. When the lips and/or roof of the mouth fail to join together, babies are said to have a cleft lip/palate. There is a noticeable split or opening that can extend from the base of the nose into the soft palate at the back of the mouth and may happen on one or both sides of the mouth. The cause is, for the most part, unknown but research shows that there may be a link via heredity, medications taken during pregnancy or environmental factors. Cleft lip and cleft palate can occur together or separately.
The Art of a Natural Looking Face
Cleft lips/palates require major surgery to close the gap created by the deformity. It is one of the most detailed surgeries, as it not only deals with designing a natural look, but it must be done correctly to allow for normal speech, chewing and other capabilities with the mouth. With cleft lip/palate surgery, a team of physicians and other specialists work together to correct the defect. Dr. Wallace has the artistic eye and the skill to reconstruct the facial features as they should be.
Benefits of Cleft Lip/Palate Surgery
Cleft lip/palate surgery not only creates more aesthetically natural-looking facial features, this reconstructive surgery allows patients to the following:
- Normal function of the mouth
- Ability to suck
- Ability to speak correctly
- Ability to eat normally
- Ability to breathe through the mouth
- Aids in the normal development of the teeth and jaw line
Is Cleft Lip/Palate Surgery Right for Me?
Cleft lip/palate surgery is the best option for any infant or child born with this birth defect. Surgeries to repair and reconstruct the lips and mouth may begin as early as 12 weeks. It is essential to work with a skilled plastic surgeon when dealing with this condition to determine when to begin the process.
Elements of Cleft Lip/Palate Surgery
Cleft lip/palate surgery is more than a simple procedure. It is a process that takes time and patience, as it follows the growth of the patient dealing with it. While often the conditions occur together, they can also occur separately. Each procedure is done to reconstruct the features to look and perform as they should when normally formed.
With cleft lip surgery, the lip separation is closed by making incisions on either side of the cleft to create flaps of tissue. These flaps are then drawn and sewn together to close the gap. As for repairing a cleft palate, the surgeon must shift the tissue and muscles in the roof of the mouth to close the cleft and rebuild the palate. This involves a special technique using incisions to make flaps, reposition the muscle and tissue then close the incisions with sutures. The incision is closed in the middle of the roof in the mouth to allow for normal growth and development, as well as for use throughout life.
How Much Does Cleft Lip/Palate Surgery Cost?
With cleft lip/palate surgery, the procedure is considered reconstructive and medically necessary. This means that many insurance plans provide partial or full coverage for the procedure. We can help you determine if your plan offers coverage. Additionally, we accept cash, check, Visa®, MasterCard®, American Express® and Discover®, as well as offer financing options with Prosper® Healthcare Lending.
After Cleft Lip/Palate Surgery
Following cleft lip/palate surgery, it is imperative to follow the specific instructions we provide to promote proper healing. With cleft lip repairs, stitches must be kept clean, and patients should be positioned to sleep on their sides or back to prevent them from rubbing their faces on pillows or the mattress. Stitches are usually removed after a week.
For cleft palate, the first few weeks are the most difficult as the palate needs this time to heal. We provide specific instructions on eating and drinking depending on the age of the patients. To keep hands and toys away from the mouth, we recommend children wear arm restraints that do not allow for any bending at the elbow for the first 10-14 days after surgery.
During your consultation, Dr. Wallace, and his staff provide detailed preparation and recovery instructions to ensure proper healing.
Getting Back to Normal Following Cleft Lip/Palate Surgery
Cleft lip/palate surgery is much more involved than most other plastic surgery procedures, simply because it involves more than a cosmetic procedure. The initial cleft lip/palate surgery takes about three to four weeks to heal; however, more procedures throughout early childhood and adolescence are required to ensure proper functioning of the entire mouth – inside and out.
Parents of children with cleft lip/palate living in Plano, Frisco or anywhere in Dallas, TX, can turn to Dr. Charles A. Wallace, M.D., a board-certified plastic surgeon, for reconstructive surgery. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.