Cleft lip & palate management

The management of cleft lip and palate deformity is best performed in a multidisciplinary team based fashion from time of first diagnosis (often now antenatal) till the completion of facial growth and even on into middle age- this is the long standing philosophy of the Australian Craniofacial Unit at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

Cleft lip & palate treatment

At the Australian Craniofacial Unit (ACFU), children with cleft lip and cleft palate are managed in a multidisciplinary team including: Plastic surgeons, paediatricians, paediatric dentists, orthodontists, ear nose and throat surgeons, Speech pathologists and a variety of other specialists as required.

The surgical treatment of each cleft patient is determined by the pattern and severity of cleft deformity, and the timing of treatment altered according to the patients overall medical well-being. Conventional treatment within our team is as follows:

  1. Cleft lip repair – 3-6 months
  2. Cleft palate repair – 6-12 months – includes EUA of ears and grommets if indicated.
  3. Alveolar bone graft and fistula repair – 8-12 years – with prior orthodontic preparation
  4. Orthognathic surgery – 16-18 years – with prior orthodontic preparation
  5. Final revisionary surgery – at completion of facial growth – palate, nose, lip and chin

Earlier revisionary surgery for speech may be indicated according to findings by speech pathology and after appropriate investigation of velopharyngeal sphincter function.