Not many people know that Dr.Fisher established a foundation for helping children born with lip deformities. Cleft lip (cheiloschisis) and cleft palate (palatoschisis) are among the most common birth defects affecting children in North America. The incomplete formation of the upper lip (cleft lip) or roof of the mouth (cleft palate) can occur individually, or both defects may occur together. The conditions can vary in severity and may involve one or both sides of the face.
A cleft, or separation of the upper lip and/or the roof of the mouth, occurs very early in the development of your unborn child. During fetal development, certain components of the upper lip and roof of the mouth fail to form normally. Cleft lip and cleft palate repair is a type of plastic surgery to correct this abnormal development both to restore function and to restore a more normal appearance.
Many children are grateful to Dr.Fisher for being able to eat, speak, hear and breathe normally today.
Surgery to repair a cleft of any kind is a highly individualized procedure that’s intended to not only close the defect, but also to insure your child’s ability to function and grow normally.
Cleft lip repair, also called cheiloplasty, includes reconstruction of a more normal appearance, namely:
- Closure of the cleft resulting in a scar located in the normal structures of the upper lip
- Formation of a cupid’s bow (the curve at the center of the upper lip)
- Considerations for adequate distance between the upper lip and nose
Because the palate creates the ﬂoor of the nasal cavity, considerations in repairing a cleft palate include:
- Allowing for normal growth, function and speech development
- Relation of the palate to the auditory canal and hearing
- Development of the teeth and jaw alignment
Where the cleft also affects the shape of the nose, additional procedures may be recommended to:
- Achieve symmetry between the nostrils
- Create adequate length of the columella (the tissue that separates the nostrils)
- Increase the angle of the nasal tip, to avoid a flattened nasal tip or one that pulls downward
The timing of the cleft repairs depend on the individual circumstances of your child. Cleft lip repairs are initially performed when a child is at least 10 weeks of age and 10 pounds in weight and has a hemoglobin (or blood count) of at least 10. Cleft palate repairs are generally performed when a child is somewhat older, from 9 to 18 months of age. Cleft repair may be delayed in order to treat other, more life-threatening problems that may be present such as a heart or lung disorder.
If your child suffers from a similar deformity, you may wish to visit Dr.Fisher and discuss with him what options are available for cleft lip and/or cleft palate repair, and what are possible outcomes of surgery and the potential risks and complications associated with the procedure. Dr.Fisher will recommend the most suitable course of treatment for your child.