Cleft and Craniofacial Rehabilitation

Sometimes, children are born with an anomaly that affects how their face grows and develops. These exist on a spectrum ranging from a simple cleft lip and palate to complex disorders of facial bone growth. At Great Basin Oral and Facial Surgery we are well versed in the multidisciplinary rehabilitation of these complex situations in Reno, Nevada.

Dr. Schlieder’s Passion


A cleft lip/cleft palate is a relatively common birth defect, affecting one in every 700-750 individuals. Those who are born with a cleft palate or a cleft lip often experience complex and extensive problems that affect facial appearance, hearing, dental health, speech and even learning capabilities.

Fortunately, major craniofacial anomalies are rare and appear only in one out of every 2,000 births. Evaluation, management and support for those who need more extensive care requires additional care to repair the cleft.

Special Care Is Needed

Newborns and infants with a cleft lip or palate often have feeding difficulties as a result of their cleft. Special bottles and other tools can help, but surgical repair is necessary to correct the cleft once the child is old enough to undergo the necessary surgical procedures.

Every child’s cleft is different, varying in severity depending on whether they have a cleft palate, a cleft lip or some combination of the two. This means that the number of surgeries required to correct the cleft may vary, depending on the child’s needs.

Cleft Lip Repair

cleft lip repair

Children who require cleft lip rehabilitation may need one or two surgeries, usually with the first taking place between the ages of 3-6 months. The goal of a cleft lip repair is to correct the cleft in the lip to enhance function and facial aesthetics.

Cleft Palate Repair

Repairing a cleft palate is a more involved procedure, with the first palatoplasty surgery taking place between the ages of 6–12 months. Once the facial structures have developed more, around ages 7-8, another surgery is often necessary to graft bone where it was missing in the upper jaw. As the child grows and their facial and mouth structure develops, additional surgeries may be recommended, including bone grafting, speech surgery, rhinoplasty and corrective jaw surgery.

This information is overwhelming to say the least, especially to a growing family with an unexpected health care surprise. Come visit us at Great Basin Oral and Facial Surgery for a consultation, second opinion or simply to find someone who will listen. Contact us today.

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If you or your family member needs treatment, has questions about oral and maxillofacial care, or simply wants to know more about our services, contact us today to set up a consultation with our qualified and highly skilled surgeons!

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Anesthesia is a crucial part of modern surgery, and Great Basin Oral and Facial Surgery offers a complete spectrum of choices to best suit your unique physiology and preferred comfort level.

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Schedule Appointment

Contact us at Great Basin Oral and Facial Surgery to set up a consultation with our experienced and highly skilled surgeons!