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Houston Cranio Facial

Adult Cleft Lip & Palate

Dr. Eric Payne is a craniofacial plastic surgeon who treats adults as well as children with craniofacial congenital deformities such as cleft lip and cleft palate. He works with a team of specialists who also take care of clefts, such as a speech therapist, an oral surgeon, an orthodontist, and even a prosthodontist if necessary. There is no age limit for treatment of cleft lip and cleft palate at The Craniofacial and Plastic Surgery Center in Houston.

What can be done for adults with a cleft lip or cleft palate?

Typically, there are four areas that are of concern for patients who are adults with a cleft lip and cleft palate.

  1. Scar – Most people would like the scar on the upper lip to be revised and improved if possible, to try and hide the scar so that others may not notice it.
  2. Nose – Typically patients with a cleft lip and cleft palate will have a nasal deformity causing airway obstruction as well as an unpleasing shape of the nose.
  3. Speech – Some patients may have abnormal speech due to the cleft palate and would like to improve their overall speech quality so that others may understand them easily.
  4. Jaw – Typically with a cleft of the palate there is a jaw deformity as patients mature and become older.

What type of surgery can be done to correct an adult cleft nasal deformity?

Cleft lip and palate repair covers a wide range of treatments. Dr. Payne can perform a septoplasty along with a rhinoplasty to reshape the nose and open up the airway for easier breathing in patients who have a cleft lip and cleft palate. This surgery is called an open septorhinoplasty and is done after teenage years. This surgery can help reshape the nose and improve the nasal tip to align the nose creating more symmetry.

Will insurance companies cover surgery for a cleft nasal deformity?

Yes, insurance companies typically will cover surgery for cleft lip and palate nasal deformities, because they are not a cosmetic procedure. Cleft lip and cleft palate is considered a congenital deformity and therefore it is a reconstructive surgery that can be performed to improve the appearance of the individual.

Is it possible to improve speech in an adult with a cleft palate?

Yes, working with a speech therapist, Dr. Payne, who is a board certified plastic surgeon, can help diagnose if surgery is necessary or further speech therapy will be needed to improve a person’s speech. Some adult cleft patients can have nasal air escape or hypernasality from a condition called the velopharyngeal insufficiency or VPI. VPI is treated with surgery.

What can be done for adults who have a cleft that affects the jaw and teeth?

Adult cleft lip and cleft palate patients with jaw and teeth deformities require a team approach with a craniofacial plastic surgeon, an oral surgeon, an orthodontist, and even possibly a prosthodontist. Typically, the first step is with pre-surgical orthodontia performed by placing braces to align the teeth. Then a second stage is planned with virtual surgical planning to determine the best alignment of the jaw. Finally, jaw repositioning with possible bone grafting can be performed if necessary. Some patients do not want to undergo any further surgery and therefore a prosthodontist can help create a custom denture implant that can be removed or one that can be more permanent with dental implants. Some patients need dental implants to replace gaps between the teeth, which can be performed by an oral surgeon.

Dr. Payne and his team of specialist can help you if you’re over the age of 18 and need further treatment for your cleft lip and cleft palate. Please give us a call to schedule your consultation.