Adult Cleft and Craniofacial Disorders
What are Adult Cleft and Craniofacial Disorders?
If you are an adult with a cleft lip or palate, you may face unique challenges and have specialized treatment needs. The Barrow Adult Cleft Team recognizes the obstacles to providing care for adults. You may be surprised to learn that team-centered care exists for the adult population. When specialists work together as an interdisciplinary team, as they do at Barrow, treatment goals can be individualized and health care providers can identify the best choices for treatment by consulting with each other.
Our team at the Barrow Adult Cleft Center can evaluate you for a variety of correctable problems, including:
- speech deficiencies requiring therapy for correction
- hypernasal speech (sounds come through nose) requiring surgical correction
- alveolar clefts (gum ridge) that have not been treated by bone grafting
- residual palatal fistulae (hole between nose and mouth)
- malocclusion (bad bite) requiring orthodontics and/or surgery for correction
- lip and nasal deformity secondary to cleft status
- midface deficiency secondary to malocclusion
- hypertrophic (thick or wide) scarring correctable with revision surgery
- significant dental concerns, missing teeth, unattractive teeth
You also have the opportunity to consult with the interdisciplinary specialties of The Barrow Adult Cleft Team, including craniofacial plastic surgery, craniofacial orthodontics, craniofacial speech pathology, dentistry, otolaryngology, genetics, psychology, and social work. Our comprehensive team can help you identify concerns and propose treatment and management options. This team approach can guide you toward a treatment strategy that best fits your unique situation.
Major advancements have been made in the treatment of cleft palate and cleft lip deformities to address cosmetic and functional needs. Bone and tissue grafts, with or without orthodontics and facial reconstruction, are available to you whether or not you have had prior surgeries. In addition, genetic counseling is available to determine your likelihood of their having an infant with a cleft.
Appearance and Speech
In many cases, our craniofacial plastic surgeons can significantly decrease the visibility of your cleft scar and alter the shape of your lip, reduce or eliminate deformity of your nose, and remove obstructions your nasal passages. Most of these surgeries can be performed on an outpatient basis, meaning you can often leave the hospital on the same day that you have your procedure.
A speech pathologist from Barrow can help you make significant improvements in your speech using speech therapy, an oral speech appliance, or, in some cases, by providing a surgical referral. If you have a hearing impairment, you will be evaluated by an otolaryngologist who can recommend appropriate treatment.
Teeth and Jaw Abnormalities
Barrow’s craniofacial orthodontist can use braces to straighten your teeth if they are misaligned. Our dentists can also work with you to restore or replace poorly-shaped and missing teeth. The Barrow craniofacial surgeons may recommend surgery to reposition your jaw if it does not align properly. Our cleft team will work with you to develop the best treatment plan.