As soon as you become concerned that there is, or may be a problem, then it is a good idea to consult with a craniofacial surgeon. Often there can be some uncertainty regarding a diagnosis from a primary care provider and a qualified craniofacial surgeon can help to establish a definitive diagnosis.
There are many reasons why a skull may be misshapen. Some of them merely present a cosmetic or aesthetic problem, while others may have more significant implications, such as brain development issues. If there is a question it is best to seek out a qualified craniofacial surgeon to discuss your options.
In most cases, a cleft lip and/or palate is not a genetic condition. However, in a minority of cases it can have some basis in your child’s genetic composition. In simple terms, the facial structures have to “fuse” together in the midline of the face during development in the womb. If there is a problem with this fusion process, then a cleft may occur.
Cleft surgery is often quite comfortable for the child. However, the experience of being in a hospital, along with all the various strangers (medical professionals) involved, can be more difficult for the child than the actual pain of the surgery. Due to modern anesthesia and local anesthetic your child’s actual surgery should be essentially pain free.
Like all surgery, there are risks involved, however they are very low in most cases. Risks will vary depending on the underlying condition, age of the patient, and other factors, therefore, we recommend having a thorough discussion with your craniofacial surgeon to help to clarify any concerns.
Most medical insurance companies, including California Children’s Service (CCS) will cover reconstructive surgery. We also have a foundation called HappySkulls.org that can assist in some cases. Please call us directly at +1.415.624.3922 if you have any questions.
The oldest adult cleft palate surgery that we have performed was on a patient 65 years of age. The youngest was on a 2 month old child. We have done revision surgery to repair or improve late issues due to clefts in adults in their 30s and 40s.
We have an extensive collection of pre- and post-surgical patient photos spanning the several decades that we have been in practice (since 1973). We are more than happy to share these images with prospective patients during their in-office consultation.
In order to respect the privacy and confidentiality of our patients and uphold our promise to never put their photos on the Internet, we do not share these photos on our website.
Additionally, we do not share these photos via email or phone consultations; they are strictly for use at in-office consultations and/or medical conference presentations.
Often a modification to the chin will help to overall contour the mandible jaw.
Although implants for contouring the angles of the jaw bone are sometimes useful, we typically see little or no need for implants on the chin. As always, we recommend you come speak with your surgeon about your options.
All chin surgery is usually performed through the inside of the mouth, so scarring is almost invisible.