If part of your child's face doesn't develop as expected, the Cleft & Craniofacial Clinic at UNM Health System can provide and facilitate care he or she needs to eat and speak well. Trust us to diagnose and treat conditions such as:
- Cleft lip or cleft palate
- 22q11.1 deletion syndrome
- Ear underdevelopment
- Hemifacial microsomia
- Pierre Robin sequence
- Stickler syndrome
- Velopharyngeal insufficiency, or hypernasality
Prenatal DiagnosisDuring pregnancy, an ultrasound may show a cleft lip or palate – a split lip or roof of the mouth. In that case, you'll begin learning treatment options and support services available after birth, including specialized feeding assistance.
Give your child the best odds of a good, long-term outcome by following your care team's recommendations for one or more of these procedures.
Cleft Lip Repair
Your healthy baby's lip repair likely will take place at age 2-3 months. But if your child's lip cleft is severe, doctors may recommend naso-alveolar molding to gradually shape facial tissues into a better position for surgery. In this case, your baby will wear small appliances for a few months and receive surgery at 5 or 6 months old.
Cleft Palate Repair
Palate repair usually takes place when a healthy baby is 10-14 months old and developing speech. If your child has health concerns or speech delays, surgeons may wait longer to perform the procedure.
Distraction Osteogenesis for the Mandible
If your child has Pierre Robin sequence – a small lower jaw (mandible) that crowds the tongue and causes breathing problems – he or she may benefit from distraction osteogenesis. This procedure makes a small cut in the jaw and uses a special device to encourage new bone to grow and enlarge the lower jaw.
Ear Tube Placement
A cleft palate usually makes fluid build up in your child's middle ear and cause hearing problems. Surgery can drain the fluid and place small tubes in the eardrums to keep the ears ventilated.
Velopharyngeal Insufficiency Surgery
Velopharyngeal insufficiency, or hypernasality, means your child's soft palate allows too much air to move through the nose during speech. Surgery – or a nonsurgical prosthesis – and speech therapy can improve your child's voice.
Take advantage of our extensive support services that help improve your child's and family's long-term well-being.