Published: June 28, 2007
Updated: June 28, 2007
Members of the Duke Cleft Lip and Palate Team have created this information to answer some of your immediate questions. As a parent of a child with cleft lip and/or cleft palate, you will be dealing with changing issues as your child grows and develops.
The information herein applies to children at various ages and stages of development.
This material may also be useful in answering questions for friends, relatives, teachers, and others. You may want to give some of these people an opportunity to read about cleft lip and cleft palate. Please feel free to share this information, particularly with people who will spend a lot of time with your child.
While this Web site will answer many of your questions, your cleft team also stands ready to provide any information you may need as your child develops. If you have questions or concerns, you should always feel free to get in touch. You do not have to wait for the next team visit. Call or write any of the team members any time.
You are our priority. We are here to help you.
As you talk with cleft lip and palate team specialists, they may use unfamiliar terms to describe the anatomy, speech, and hearing of your child. In the interest of clear communication between us, some of the special terms will be defined in the glossary.
The team approach is the standard of care for children with cleft lip and/or palate; it provides the means to give you and your child coordinated and specialized care.
A cleft team consists of several experienced specialists. They will evaluate, treat, and provide regular check-ups for your child. These specialists come from many fields involved in the treatment of clefts. The Duke University Team is led by a pediatric plastic surgeon and has, as its core, members from plastic surgery, otolaryngology, audiology, speech pathology, oral surgery. Other team members include specialists from craniofacial surgery, orthodontia, psychology, pediatrics, genetics, and pediatric dentistry. The reason so many professionals experienced with clefts are necessary is that the treatment of cleft lip and/or palate is complex and, in most cases, cannot adequately be provided by any one specialist. Not all of these specialists will be involved with your child at every visit or evaluation, but they are there if they are needed.
Since not all clefts are alike, different clefts may call for different treatment. In addition, since children change with growth, evaluations and treatments will be related to the age of the child. The team approach to treating cleft lip and cleft palate provides for special attention from appropriate specialists as needed throughout the treatment process. This is a good reason to have periodic Team check-ups as your child grows and matures.
For more information:, call 919.681.8555 / fax:
Or write to: Duke Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Box 3974 DUMC
Durham, NC 27710
Special thanks to the following people for their contributions to the text of these pages:
Jeffrey R. Marcus MD, Edward Clifford, PhD, Robert Mason, DDS, PhD, Penny Mirret, MA, John E. Riski, PhD, Gregory Ruff, MD, Bruce Weber, PhD.
Illustrations by V. Susan Tanner, Original publication's MSMI and graphic design by Gail G. Ingram of Duke University Medical Center, Division of Audiovisual Education. Web site design by Julie McKeel of Duke University Health System, Division of Web Services.
Copyright 1998/2003. Division of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, Duke University Medical Center.