Multidisciplinary Care for CFD

What is your experience with treating cleft lip/palate?

We have a multidisciplinary team at OHSU with numerous subspecialists who have expertise caring for children with clefts. Our team includes members from various disciplines, including plastic surgery, otolaryngology, pediatrics, speech and language pathology, audiology, and psychology among others. Our team is the number one referral center in the state for children with clefts and the only team in the state recognized by the American Cleft Palate—Craniosynostosis Association (ACPA). We see 60-80 new infants each year with clefts and follow them through adolescence. We are also the only team in the state to offer Nasoalveolar Molding (NAM).Our team members are dedicated to providing the most advanced care that is suited to your child's individual needs. We meet regularly to discuss the care plans for all patients cared for on our team.

What type of care is given at OHSU for cleft lip/palate?

Our craniofacial team includes members from all disciplines that are needed to provide care for children with clefts. From prenatal and genetic counseling through surgeries needed at various times until adulthood, you will have access to subspecialist providers who can explain our approach to care and answer questions you may have. Our multidisciplinary team works closely together to make sure each child's plan is individualized according to your child's and family's needs and that we are providing the best care possible.

What is the treatment for cleft lip/palate?

The goal of surgery to repair a cleft lip is to put the skin and muscle back into their usual place. The nose is usually corrected with this first surgery, although revisions may be necessary as your child grows. Your surgeon will explain more about how this procedure is done. Normally, the lip is repaired when your baby is 3-6 months old.

When the palate is repaired, usually around 12 months old, the surgeon puts the muscle and tissue into the proper place at the roof of the mouth and near the back of the throat. This will allow your child to learn to speak normally.

Below is an overview of the timeline we follow for treatment of children with cleft lip/palate. As you can see, the complex needs of a child with a cleft begin at birth and continue until adulthood.  Although these are the standard times for treatment, your team of providers will work closely with you and your child to determine whether this is the optimal plan for your child given other factors such as growth, development, psychosocial situations, other medical concerns, and the needs of your family. Our goal is to provide the best services to achieve the optimal outcome with the fewest interventions possible.

Timeline of Care