Cleft lip and palate in children

A cleft lip or palate impacts your little one's smile and functional priorities, too. The good news is world-recognized corrective techniques were pioneered by our plastic surgeons. Here, your child’s plan is one-of-a-kind. Because of this meticulous "only you" philosophy and our advanced skills, your child can enjoy greater success now, with fewer follow-up procedures later. We can restore your child's beautiful smile and speech for a confident future.

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When the roof of the mouth (palate) and lip don’t fully develop in the womb, a gap may remain. This is called a cleft lip and/or palate. It affects every function of the face except sight. Eating, hearing, talking, smelling and tasting are all compromised when this condition isn’t treated well. Our unique approach makes it possible to have complete repair.

Your child's care begins here

We know that appearance and clear speech are important for your child’s self-esteem and interactions with others. Our multidisciplinary team will also provide support with aspects of breathing, feeding, hearing and oral care. We’ve helped thousands of children born with simple and complex forms of this condition.

Others use a single pattern to repair the problem for all children. Not us. We create a one-of-a-kind pattern to fit your child’s facial structure, for the best results in the fewest surgeries. Most babies begin the process at between nine and 12 months.

We lead in the field by developing new approaches for greater success in both cleft lip and cleft palate repair. It's our privilege to help your child put his or her best face forward, for life.

Bottle feeding with cleft lip/palate - English

Bottle feeding with cleft lip/palate - Spanish

Treatment options

Cleft lip repair
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Clefts are extremely variable: some are narrow, others are wide. They can occur on one or both sides of the mouth and some impact the nose and palate as well as the lip. Their size and type impact the facial muscles. That’s why we take an individual approach to repairing cleft lips, so we can restore facial movement as well as appearance through several surgeries in the first two years of life as your child grows. This multi-step approach continues to deliver outstanding results in both look of nose, lips and face as well as function for children born with clefts of all sizes and types. Others may never know your child had a cleft lip.

Feeding assistance
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Cleft palate can make it difficult for your child to eat. We'll help you discover the right specialized bottles and tools to ensure good nutrition.

Speech therapy
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Your child may need assistance learning to pronounce words clearly as he or she gets older. Our goal is perfect speech for every child.

Special surgery for cleft palate, buccal flap surgery
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The palate, or roof of the mouth, is essential for talking and eating. We've developed a highly-effective procedure called "buccal flap" surgery, which uses tissue from the inside of the cheek to repair these clefts. It allows us to completely form the new palate to each child's structure.

This surgery to repair a cleft palate is usually done around age one. We're delighted that this approach has shown exciting results in the ability to eat and speak clearly for so many of the kids we serve.

Traditional surgery
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For children with simple cleft lip or palate, traditional surgical repair is all that's needed to successfully restore the smile and symmetry.