What is it?
Clefts of the lip and palate are among the most common birth defects in newborns. Most often they occur sporadically (has nothing to do with anything the parents have done or their genes), though genetics can play a role in certain cases.
When is it done?
Depending on what is affected, different procedures may need to be performed throughout a child’s lifetime, including:
Cleft lip (3-6 months old)
Cleft palate (9-12 months old)
Revision of cleft lip, if needed (3-5 years old)
Alveolar bone grafting (7-9 years old)
Jaw surgery (16-18 years old)
Cleft rhinoplasty (16-18 years old)
how is it done?
All of these procedures involve general anesthesia and would be performed at a pediatric hospital. Often, they also involve an overnight stay.
Cleft surgery should be performed by a board certified plastic surgeon with specialty training in craniofacial surgery. Dr. Toranto did a fellowship in craniofacial surgery at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and also volunteers his time and performs cleft surgery on mission trips.