If your child is born with a cleft palate, you’re probably anxious to learn more about your treatment options. Christopher Brooks, MD, of Brooks Plastic Surgery in Hollywood, Florida, has a great deal of expertise treating cleft palate and can help you understand the process and expected outcomes. Call or book an appointment online to begin the process, and rest assured that treatment can help your child live a normal, healthy life.
Cleft palate is a condition that occurs when the roof of your baby’s mouth doesn’t develop properly during pregnancy. As many as 2,650 babies are born in America each year with cleft palate.
Because the roof of your baby’s mouth is not easily viewed through ultrasound, cleft palate is often not diagnosed until after birth. In some cases, only a portion of the palate is open, but some babies have an opening that extends from front to back.
Many babies born with cleft palate also have cleft lip, or a vertical opening in the upper lip. Both conditions can be treated during the same procedure.
When the roof of the mouth is not properly formed, numerous complications can follow. Your child might encounter problems with eating, which can lead to malnutrition. He or she might also develop speech problems.
Some kids with cleft palate have more frequent ear infections. They can also display hearing issues. Even dental problems are a concern when there’s an opening in the roof of the mouth. Left untreated, a cleft palate and/or cleft lip can make kids feel incredibly self-conscious about their appearance, which can cause social problems.
Treating cleft palate requires a team approach, as the surgical repair can be complex. Your child might require additional services at the same time, which is why a team of professionals is the best option.
A surgical procedure can rebuild the roof of your baby’s mouth and close the separation. The exact approach varies based on the extent of your baby’s cleft. In some cases, ear tubes are placed during the same surgery to improve ear fluid drainage and prevent ear infections.
Even after your baby’s initial surgery, ongoing care may be needed as he or she grows and develops. During infancy, it may be necessary to use special bottles or feeders to avoid damaging the palate.
Some kids need hearing aids or other devices to improve hearing damage caused by cleft palate. Others eventually need orthodontic services to correct their bite. Speech therapy is sometimes called for and can occur on either a short- or long-term basis.
Therapy or counseling can also help. This is especially true if your child requires multiple surgical procedures or encounters difficulty with peers based on his or her appearance.
To learn more about your treatment options for cleft palate, schedule a consultation with Dr. Brooks as soon as possible. You can set up your visit online, or call to speak with a member of the administrative staff.