Cleft Palate Treatment
The first thing we would like to say about Cleft Palate treatment is: don't dispair – help is close to hand through the specialist treatment and experience offered by Dr. Pocock.
Presurgical Orthopaedics for Neonates with Cleft Lip and Palate
This technical sounding title describes a technique that our team provides to newborn babies with cleft lip and palate. The technique allows us to move several of the facial structures into a more normal position prior to your baby's surgeries thereby simplifying the surgical procedures and improving the overall result and facial aesthetics. As you will have already seen the clefting process leads to obvious problems with the soft tissues of your babies face and palate. Less obvious is the effect on the bones that house your baby's teeth and form the palate, as well as the effect on the cartilages that shape and support your baby's nose.
During the first 3 months of your babies life the levels of estrogen (a hormone) is relatively high in your baby's blood stream. This allows cartilage in the nose, which is usually resistant to being reshaped, to be quite mouldable. Once your baby is past this stage the cartilage becomes "set" in shape. Therefore if these cartilages are allowed to "set" in a deformed shape it will be difficult to reshape them surgically when older. However if this mouldable period is used to reshape the cartilage, the nose will "set" in a more normal shape.
During this first three months it is also possible reposition the toot- bearing parts of the jaws. This helps with the shape of the face in the upper lip area and means the lip is under less strain when the surgeon closes the lip. The appliances used for these procedures also help with feeding – your baby will still not be able to "suck" but they will be able to squeeze the teat between the gum pads and the appliance allowing your baby to feed without you having to squeeze the bottle. This all helps to put on weight which is vitally important anyway but also allows surgery to proceed on time.