Initial cleft palate repair surgery is performed anywhere from 6 to 15 months of age and is decided by the surgeon based on the child’s needs.
Children with a cleft palate may require more than one surgery to repair their palate. The initial surgery is completed by a plastic surgeon and aims to close the palate and create a barrier in the roof off the mouth separating the mouth from the nasal cavity. This enables eating without food coming out of the nose (nasal regurgitation), clear speech and allows for the development of sucking and drinking.
Cleft palate repair surgery includes repair of a cleft in the soft or hard palate, or the submucosa, and often the uvula.