2 doctors weighed in:

How old does a child have to be in order to have cleft lip and palate corrective surgery? I'm hoping that the answer is sooner rather than later, given how this appearance will affect how a child is perceived by their peers.

2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Geoffrey Rutledge
Internal Medicine

In brief: Cleft

Cleft lip and/or palate is one of the most common birth defects in america, affecting about 1 in 800 children.
This condition is characterized by a minor or significant separation of the upper lip and/or roof of the mouth. The surgery performed to correct this condition is called a palatoplasty. Most plastic surgeons recommend a palatoplast be performed between 6 months to 18 months and the decision to perform this surgery is based on the extent of the birth defect, the child's age, speech development, facial growth and risk. While many parents wish for the surgery to occur earlier, most sugeries occur around 10-12 months of age. This age is ideal due to healing times at this age. Also, the area around the affected facial are hasn't had much time to grow, which can help speed up the recovery time. Children at this age may also not recall the surgery later in life. At this age, speech development is still in its infancy. It has been found that children who undergo this procedure after the age of three are prone to having speech development issues. There is always risk involved with any surgery. Work with your doctor to determine the best path for your child and his/her surgery to determine best timing for this procedure.

In brief: Cleft

Cleft lip and/or palate is one of the most common birth defects in america, affecting about 1 in 800 children.
This condition is characterized by a minor or significant separation of the upper lip and/or roof of the mouth. The surgery performed to correct this condition is called a palatoplasty. Most plastic surgeons recommend a palatoplast be performed between 6 months to 18 months and the decision to perform this surgery is based on the extent of the birth defect, the child's age, speech development, facial growth and risk. While many parents wish for the surgery to occur earlier, most sugeries occur around 10-12 months of age. This age is ideal due to healing times at this age. Also, the area around the affected facial are hasn't had much time to grow, which can help speed up the recovery time. Children at this age may also not recall the surgery later in life. At this age, speech development is still in its infancy. It has been found that children who undergo this procedure after the age of three are prone to having speech development issues. There is always risk involved with any surgery. Work with your doctor to determine the best path for your child and his/her surgery to determine best timing for this procedure.
Dr. Geoffrey Rutledge
Dr. Geoffrey Rutledge
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Dr. James Sidman
ENT - Head & Neck Surgery - Pediatric

In brief: Lip-6-10 weeks

Cleft lip repair is usually done at 6-10 weeks old, and palate repair around 10-11 months old.
No need to wait longer than that in most cases, although there are exceptions on occasion. Go see the cleft surgeon soon for advice.

In brief: Lip-6-10 weeks

Cleft lip repair is usually done at 6-10 weeks old, and palate repair around 10-11 months old.
No need to wait longer than that in most cases, although there are exceptions on occasion. Go see the cleft surgeon soon for advice.
Dr. James Sidman
Dr. James Sidman
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