FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS CONCERNING THE CLEFT
Zofia Dudkiewicz, M.D., Ph.D. Professor of Medicine answers
- When is the best time for operation of cleft lip and palate: at the age of 6 months or later? Doesn’t the reconstruction of the palate in the first year of life create problems in the development of the jaw and the face of the child? Isn’t a method of firstly reconstructing the lip and re-establishing the palate in the second year of life safer?
- What does the speech rehabilitation consist of? When should the first visit at the speech therapist be appointed?
- Can a child with Pierre Robin Syndrome and cleft palate be fed with a breast, or should it be from the beginning fed with a spoon? Which of the opinions is correct: „Breast feeding in cleft plate children makes the cleft bigger and therefore the feeding should be done with a spoon” or „The operation of cleft palate does not create any problems in further development of the jaw and the face of the child, and sucking the nipple causes closing of the cleft”?
- Can a cleft palate influence hearing disorders? Will the hearing improve after the operation? How many children with cleft defects suffer from disorders of that type and should a child wear a hearing aid?
- When do you decide that the further rehabilitation of the short palate does not make sense and operation is necessary? What does such operation consist of? If after closing the cleft palate fistulas appear, could they be seen with the naked eye and the doctor will notice them during the check-up visit? If it can’t be seen with a naked eye how can you state that there are still gaps in the palate and when (how fast after the first operation) should the procedure be repeated?
- What are the causes of a cleft defect and how big is the risk that the baby will inherit that defect from its parents?
- Can a pharyngeal tonsil (adenoid) be removed in a child that is often ill, has hearing loss and that suffers from a submucosal cleft?
- Is it true that in a child with cleft soft palate the adenoid cannot be removed although the child suffers from a significant hearing loss due to adenoid’s enlargement, because it would contribute to intensification of already existing speech disorders?
- Is the usage of a special palatal obturator recommended at some facilities to children with complete cleft lip and palate advisable?
- In what period of a child’s life should the operation of craniosynostosis take place? Will it have any impact on the child later in life?