How We Time Your Child's Surgeries
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.
- For example, if a newborn has a cleft lip and palate, we usually perform lip repair surgery at about two to three months of age, followed by palate repair between the ages of six and 15 months.
- 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.
- And when the child is 15 or 16, we may reposition the upper jaw, if needed.
We may perform lip and nose surgery to improve appearance in early and late adolescence, if not sooner. 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.