Staying Open-Minded About Your Healthcare

When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, I didn't know what I was going to do. After the devastation subsided, I decided to take a very standard, western approach to my healing. Although initial efforts were successful, my cancer recurred a few months later. I endured many additional months of treatment before I started focusing on myself. I decided it was time to incorporate complimentary alternative treatments into my healing regimen, including massage therapy. I can't even begin to tell you how much it changed my life. My healing became a process, instead of something I simply had to endure. I hope that the articles on my website can inspire you to stay open-minded about your own healthcare.

Suspect Your Child May Inherit Your Cleft Lip? Cleft Lip Repair Is Now Much Easier Than When You Were A Child

Health & Medical Blog

If you were born with a cleft lip, then you may fear you will pass the gene that causes it onto your child or may have even had an ultrasound that already detected that your child will be born with this condition. First, realize that although researchers do suspect that a specific gene may be involved in cleft lip development, not all parents with the condition do pass it on. However, if you already know your child will be born with this condition or just want to be prepared if your child does inherit the condition, read on to find out how cleft lip repair has advanced since you were a child and how it is now faster and less invasive. 

Cleft Lip Repair in the 80s 

If you went through cleft lip repair when you were a child and teenager, then you may remember it being a long process involving many visits to doctors throughout your childhood and teenage years. The old repair method involved first addressing just your lip by having a cosmetic surgery procedure to repair it, and then later in life, addressing any underlying repairs to the underlying structure of your face, jaw, and teeth. When not repairing all components of your facial structure when you were a baby, it may have led to additional medical problems growing up, such as oral-nasal fistulas and alveolar collapse. These conditions likely not only led to surgical repairs being needed, but may have posed complications to later scheduled surgeries. 

Cleft lip repair was once handled differently not due to any fault of your doctors or surgeons, but just due to limitations in technology at the time and lack of knowledge in the medical community of how to approach repair in any other way. Of course, technology has advanced greatly, and many discoveries have been made in the medical community since then. This is great news for any children who are now born with cleft lips and their parents. 

Cleft Lip Repair Today

Today, when a child is born with a cleft lip, all structural abnormalities of their faces, teeth, and jaws can begin being eased into proper position starting soon after birth. So, it is important to find a pediatric plastic surgeon to form a treatment plan as soon as your child is born (or before if your ultrasound has already revealed that your baby will be born with a cleft lip). You may be advised to begin taping your child's lip to encourage the gap between sections to begin naturally lessening. Wider gaps may be temporarily sutured instead of taping them to help the baby nurse or drink from a bottle more easily.

In addition, a dental appliance is made that your baby will wear to correct abnormalities in the underlying bone structure of their jaw. This appliance is fixed at first (meaning no adjustments are made to it), and when your child reaches about six-weeks of age, a new appliance will be fitted to their mouth that will then periodically be adjusted until the jaw is in proper alignment (similar to how braces for teeth are tightened periodically). This appliance is the most dramatic advancement in cleft lip repair today. It can eliminate later surgeries to correct your child's jaw and facial bone structure that used to be performed. 

When your child reaches the proper age and weight for cosmetic surgery, which is typically about 3 months and 10 pounds, the dental appliance and any temporary sutures will be removed. Then, full reconstruction of all lip, nose, and face can be performed by a skilled kids plastic surgeon. The great news is that for many children, this completely restores their appearance and proper function of their mouth, nose, and ears. Any additional tweaks to the lip and nose as your child grows are often not needed, although every child differs. 

Cleft lip repair has come a long way in recent years, and doctors now urge parents to take their babies born with cleft lips to good cosmetic surgeons soon after birth. This surgeon can form a treatment plan and gather other professionals needed as part of the team, including a prosthodontist, to help your baby be cleft-free by the time they are about 3 months of age. 


8 January 2016