A cleft lip or cheiloschisis is a common birth defect caused by the incomplete formation of the upper lip, which results in a split of the upper lip. Cleft lip can occur on one side of the lip or on both sides; the latter is called bilateral cleft lip. Cleft lip can occur by itself or it can occur alongside cleft palate, which is a similar birth defect involving the roof of the mouth. Cleft lip not only mars a person’s appearance, but it also impairs speech, suckling and eating. Fortunately, cleft lip can be repaired with facial reconstruction surgery.
Cleft lip repair surgery is also called cheiloplasty, and it is a type of reconstructive surgery. The surgeon will close the cleft, which will leave a slight scar. He will also construct a cupid’s bow, the curve at the center of the upper lip, and he will make certain that there is a proper amount of distance between the nose and upper lip. Since severe forms of cleft lip can involve the nose, the surgeon may also repair the nose if needed.
The patient and/or the parents will have a consultation with Dr. Avron Lipschitz prior to treatment. During this, he will explain the procedures and risks. He will help the family explore any available options. He will also explain what will need to be done during the recovery period.
During treatment, the patient will be given a general anesthesia. The surgeon will make incisions on either side of the cleft in order to make flaps of tissue that can be sewn together to close the cleft. The doctor will then bandage the wound. During the recovery period, which typically lasts two or three weeks, the patient will need medications to relieve pain and prevent infection. If the patient is a small child, they may have to wear arm restraints to prevent them from picking at the operation site or sucking their thumb.
If your child was born with a cleft lip or palate, Dr. Avron and our team at Athena Plastic Surgery can help restore aesthetic appeal and functionality. With locations in Stuart and Palm Beach Gardens, Dr. Avron understands that facial reconstruction is a deeply personal journey. We will work with each patient individually to determine the most effective treatment plan for his or her needs.
Since cleft lip repair is such a delicate procedure that is often performed on young children, we work with the patient’s parents to ensure safety and comfort for all parties throughout the treatment process. Contact Athena Plastic Surgery today to schedule your consultation with Dr. Avron.