A Cleft palate makes it challenging for kids to eat and talk as the food and fluids enter the nasal passage rather than going to the stomach via the throat.
The palate needs to close off the inside nasal passage from the throat for a child to be able to talk and swallow in a normal manner.
A cleft palate can be repaired with cosmetic surgery. The objective is to seal off the opening in the roof of the mouth (palate). The child will remain in the operating room for only a few hours.
Board certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Eric Yavrouian provides cleft palate repair to patients in Glendale, Pasadena, Burbank, Greater Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, CA, and surrounding communities and cities in this section of the US.
During the procedure, a team of specialists works together. At the outset, an anesthesiologist will administer anesthesia on the child. The child will breathe in the medication in mist form through a mask. Once the child is asleep, the anesthesiologist will insert an intravenous (IV) into a vein to administer stronger pain drugs.
Once the child is asleep, the plastic surgeon will undertake the following steps:
- Place a brace or device into the child’s mouth to ensure it remains open during the procedure.
- Place incisions on either side of the palate along with the cleft.
- Dislodge the tissue layer attached to the bone of the hard palate enabling the stretching of the tissue.
- Place incisions to dislodge skin from the hard palate
- Create incisions along the gum line to enable the palate tissue to be stretched and shifted towards the middle of the mouth’s roof. This incision will be left open and allowed to heal by itself over the following three weeks.
- Seal the inner tissue layer in the nose with dissolvable sutures (stitches).
- Seal the outer tissue layer (oral) with absorbable sutures.
The incision within the mouth of the child will appear in a Z-shape. This “Z” closure will enhance the child’s speech in the below mentioned ways:
- This closure lengthens the soft palate. In comparison to an incision in a straight line, a “Z” incision is longer. The incision will shorten in length as it heals. The soft palate should be as long as possible. The availability of more tissue enables the palate to close off the nasal passage from the throat when the child speaks.
- It allows for a more normal placement of the muscles in the soft palate enabling them to recover and grow.
Follow Up Procedures
In case the child has a cleft in the gum, it will be addressed in another procedure. The upper jaw of a child will require several years of growth before this opening is sealed. The gum cleft is typically closed when the child is seven or eight years of age. In general, the child will undergo cleft lip repair prior to the cleft palate surgery.
After this procedure, the appetite of the child many diminish. Following the surgery, it is vital to ensure that the child is consuming sufficient fluids to stay hydrated.
Prudent facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Eric Yavrouian receives patients from Glendale, Pasadena, Burbank, Greater Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, CA, and nearby areas across the horizon for cleft palate repair.
For more information about treatments and procedures by Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, Dr. Eric J. Yavrouian, serving patients in and around Glendale, Pasadena, Burbank and the Greater Los Angeles, CA area call 818-241-2150 or click here to contact him for a consultation.