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Surgery for Cleft Lip Repair

The timing of Cleft Lip Surgery is generally done around 3 to 4 months of age because at this age the baby has had the chance to grow and develop to undergo anesthesia.

Our experienced pediatric plastic surgeons will repair your baby's cleft lip by cutting the edges of the cleft lip and putting the tissues back together to restore lip and nose symmetry. Our pediatric plastic surgeons would be glad to discuss further any questions about surgical techniques as well as advantages and disadvantages of such techniques.

Parents should understand that there will always be a scar where the lip is repaired and there will always be some degree of asymmetry of the lip and nose. For some children these are minimal but always there and for others significant prominent scar and asymmetry. How we care for the lip during the healing process is as important as the repair itself. Parents should also understand that the repaired cleft lip may need a cleft lip revision along with cleft nasal surgery in the future. Being patient and working with the surgeons and the cleft team will ultimately achieve an acceptable and satisfactory appearance.

Remember that the child is growing and that the appearance of the reconstructed lip and nose will change from infancy to adolescence. This is why, when it is acceptable, any cleft lip and cleft nasal revisional surgery is left until late adolescence.

The Goals

The goals of the cleft palate surgery are to reconstruct the palatal muscles to help with speech and to close the 'hole' so that mouth is separated from the nose.

There are a number of techniques that our plastic surgeons use and which technique depends on the type of cleft palate and the surgeon's experience. Each surgery must be tailored for the child.

While there are number of variations, there are two basic approaches:

  • 2-Flap Palate Reconstruction
  • Furlow Double Opposing Z-plasty Palate Reconstruction