Cleft lip and cleft palate are conditions that result when a baby’s lip or mouth does not properly form during pregnancy. Orofacial clefts can typically be diagnosed during pregnancy, using standard ultrasound technology, and are surgically treated a few months after the baby’s birth. 

Dr. Gandolfi is a double board-certified plastic surgeon with years of experience performing cleft lip and cleft palate surgeries, both for patients in NYC and as part of his medical mission work abroad. We offer individualized treatment from infancy to adulthood; contact our office to learn more about our treatment options.


Cleft Nasal Deformity

A cleft nasal deformity involves a cleft lip that affects the surrounding structures as well, including the nose. Nostril asymmetry on the outside and bony obstructions on the inside of the nose often require surgical correction. This is a particularly complex type of rhinoplasty and one that Dr. Gandolfi has extensive experience in. His skill and knowledge led him to an invitation to write a chapter on the cleft nasal deformity in the text “Secondary Rhinoplasty by the Global Masters.”

Dr. Gandolfi generally performs these procedures after the face has matured, after 16 years of age.


Cleft Lip Treatment

A cleft lip occurs when the tissue that forms the lip does not fully join or connect before birth. This results in an opening in the top lip, sometimes a small slit, and often a much larger gap. Children born with a cleft lip may or may not have a cleft palate, too.

Most of the time, a cleft lip is easily repaired with surgery. Sometimes, additional procedures such as NAM (nasoalveolar molding) may be recommended. This surgery is recommended for most around three months of age. Dr. Gandolfi has performed many cleft lip treatments that allowed children to live normal and healthy lives.


Cleft Palate Treatment

A cleft palate occurs when the tissue that forms the roof of the mouth does not fully join during pregnancy. For some babies, this results in both the front and back parts of the palate being open, and for others, it results in just one part of the palate being open.

For children with cleft palate, surgery is recommended within the first 18 months of life. Dr. Gandolfi is trained and experienced in repairing cleft palates and helping children avoid such problems as impaired speech, difficulty eating, and problems with their teeth.

For some children who have cleft palate surgery, further interventions may be needed in the form of speech therapy or dental therapy.


What is the Recovery Like?

Children who have surgical intervention to repair a cleft lip or cleft palate generally spend one night in the hospital. The incision itself will take two to three weeks to heal, and may present some mild swelling or pain. This can result in some fussiness, but over-the-counter pain remedies usually work very well for alleviating your child’s discomfort.


You’re in Good Hands with Dr. Gandolfi

When your child has a cleft lip or cleft palate, you naturally want to have the issue addressed as safely and as expediently as possible. Dr. Gandolfi is well-qualified and committed to the best outcomes for patients of all ages. To schedule a consultation for cleft lip or palate surgery, contact Dr. Gandolfi at (212) 287-7211.


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