Children born with cleft lips or palates or other craniofacial conditions often face multiple, complex health problems. These other conditions treated are hypernasal speech, ear deformities, jaw deformities, hemifacial microsomia, obstructive sleep apnea, branchial cleft cysts, hemangiomas, eyelid ptosis, cystic hygromas, and congenital nevi.
Experience has shown that these complex issues are best managed by a team of health care specialists who work together and with the family to ensure a comprehensive evaluation and treatment plan. The staff evaluates the medical, dental, speech, hearing, and emotional condition of each child. Since a child’s growth is a significant factor in the ultimate outcome of treatment, the team must assess the child thoroughly and regularly until young adulthood.
- a plastic surgeon (who reconstructs soft tissue)
- a pediatric otolaryngologist (an “ear, nose and throat” doctor for ears and hearing)
- an oral and maxillofacial surgeon (who works with teeth and dental occlusions)
- an orthodontist (who straightens the teeth and aligns the jaw)
- a nurse (who provides ongoing supervision of the child’s health)
- And a case worker from the Illinois Division for Specialized Care for Children (DSCC) (who attends every clinic to act as the child’s advocate and helps coordinate care)
Complete reports are sent to the child’s local physician as well as to other specialists involved. The clinic works closely with the state’s Division for Specialized Care for Children to provide financial assistance when there is a need.
One of out every 700 babies born in the United States this year will have a cleft lip and/or palate. These deformities create problems in the appearance and function of the lip, palate, nose and teeth. Difficulties in speech and hearing are usually present. Self-esteem may suffer.
Thanks to ongoing research and the great strides made in care and treatment, children born with these birth defects can live normal, healthy lives. However, it is extremely important that a team of specialists manages their care working together on a regular basis.
In 1973, Noelle was born with a cleft lip and palate. Her only option for a normal happy life was a series of reconstructive plastic surgeries. Fortunately, Noelle’s mother found a board certified plastic surgeon.
In 2003, ASPS members performed close to 7 million procedures and more than 4 million of those were reconstructive...ranging from breast reconstruction, to facial restoration, to cleft lip and palate repairs on children like Noelle.
Patients turning to board-certified plastic surgeons for treatment increased by 11 percent, according to statistics released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).
for Plastic Surgery
747 N. Rutledge
P.O. Box 19653
Springfield, IL 62794-9653
Phone number: 217-545-6314