Cleft Lip and Palate & Craniofacial Surgery

Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate are congenital defects that are present at birth. A Cleft Lip is a noticeable gap in an infant’s lip and may occur on one or both sides of the lip, stretching to the nose. A Cleft Palate is a gap in the roof of the mouth that extends to the nose. Both birth defects can affect the way infants feed and suckle, and can also impact their growth and development. A prenatal ultrasound may detect Cleft Lip Deformities; however, Cleft Palates are challenging to detect. Prenatal diagnosis can prepare parents for the arrival of their infant who may need Cleft Lip and Palate Surgery.

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When is surgery required?

Cleft Lip and Palate & Craniofacial Surgery is performed according to specific age-related timing protocols to optimise outcomes. Patients may require multiple surgical procedures to correct congenital craniofacial defects of the mouth and skull that often include Cleft Lip or Cleft Palate problems. Surgery is needed when congenital craniofacial birth defects have a severe impact on the physical and psychological development of an infant. As a result of years of reputable expertise practising as a Maxillofacial and Oral Surgeon and Cleft Surgeon, Dr Naidoo can correct these defects with Cleft Lip and Palate Surgery.

How is surgery performed?

Congenital cleft lip and palate defect and craniofacial abnormalities requires a careful approach and often takes place while a child is under the age of one. Surgery commonly commences at the age of 5 months, which ensures safety during anaesthesia and allows the paediatric patient to heal and recover in time to develop natural speech and feeding patterns as they grow.

During surgery, Dr Naidoo will work to repair craniofacial abnormalities under general anaesthetic. Cleft Lip Repair Surgery entails precise and meticulous tissue dissection and manipulation. Once the tissue is approximated and sutured into its correct position, healing time is observed with strict wound care management. Aesthetics and function are continuously considered when performing Cleft Lip Repair Surgery.

Cleft Palate Repair Surgery takes place similarly, where Dr Naidoo works to close the gap present in the roof of the mouth. This is achieved by redirecting the soft palate muscle orientation and by reworking the soft tissue of the palate to ensure a child has full use of their mouth functions as they age.

Craniofacial surgeries involve the careful planning and reconstruction of skull, orbital and facial hard tissues to improve on physical facial defects.

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