How We Time Your Child's Surgeries

Each child is unique and requires individualized care plans that consider their stage of growth and development in the face and skull and take into account the impact their condition may have on meeting certain milestones. It's important that we time your child's surgeries to minimize the impact of craniofacial abnormalities on cranial and facial growth, development, function, and appearance. Some children require reconstructive procedures at different times in their growth and development. Understanding the rationale for the timeline for reconstructive surgery and other procedures, including the use of orthodontics, is helpful to families, and our team members explain the process to you every step of the way.

The first cleft lip surgery is usually done by the time a baby is 3 or 4 months old, and sometimes earlier. The first cleft palate surgery is typically done when a child is 6 to 15 months old. The main concern for a baby with a cleft palate is good nutrition and speech. When the child approaches school age, he or she may have another surgery on the back part of the palate to improve speech. Between the ages of six and 10, we may perform a bone graft. During a child’s teen years (15 or 16), we may reposition the upper jaw, if needed.

We may perform nose surgery to improve appearance in early and late adolescence, and sooner when indicated. Throughout this process, the child may have orthodontic therapy to widen the upper jaw or put in a palate expander, and will also see a pediatric dentist to make sure the teeth and gums are in good health and to maintain oral health.

Contact

The Cleft and Craniofacial Center
at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital

161 Fort Washington Ave., Suite 511
New York, NY 10032

Call: 212-305-4346