Reconstructive Surgery for Cleft Lip: Enhancing Quality of Life

Reconstructive Surgery - Sriramakrishnahospital

Reconstructive surgery means surgically correcting abnormalities or defects caused by various factors like injuries or birth deformities. Reconstructive surgery is the term that indicates something that needs to be rebuilt. 

Reconstructive surgeries are performed for any individual, depending on the requirement. Children with congenital disabilities can also undergo reconstructive surgery. Birth defects in children can significantly affect their daily life activities, and it can also impact their self-esteem while growing up. 

With the help of facial reconstructive or plastic surgery, birth defects in children can be corrected and help them lead normal lives.

What are the most common birth defects in children?

  • Cleft lip
  • Clubfoot 
  • Cleft palate
  • Underdeveloped hands
  • Spina bifida
  • Asymmetry face 

What are the common types of reconstructive surgeries for congenital defects in children?


Rhinoplasty is a type of facial plastic surgery that is used to correct any abnormalities of the nose. It is commonly called the nose job. The nose has the upper structure of cartilage, bones, and skin. In the rhinoplasty procedure, all three components can be subjected to change depending on the requirement. 

Ear surgery:

Few children may be born with ear deformities; in a few children, the ear may not be completely developed, or it can sometimes be larger than usual. The children may undergo ear surgery to carefully rebuild the ear structure in such cases. 

Club hand surgery:

Hand surgery may not always be necessary for radial and ulnar clubhand cases with mild deformities. Radial clubhand involves the hand turning inward, resulting in limited wrist mobility. In contrast, an ulnar clubhand is characterized by a short or absent bone in the forearm on the pinky finger side, along with missing or underdeveloped tissues on that side of the hand or wrist. 

In the early stages after your baby is born, an orthopedist specializing in pediatric care may opt to use a splint to straighten the hand, stabilize the hand, stabilize the wrist, and prevent the shortening of soft tissues. Additionally, stretching exercises and physical therapy may be recommended by the doctor. In cases where surgery becomes necessary at a later stage, early splinting, and stretching can play a crucial role in enhancing the effectiveness of the procedure. 

Cleft lip and palate:

Cleft lip and palate abnormalities are birth defects frequently addressed by plastic surgeons, who aim to correct the incomplete formation of the upper lip and roof of the mouth. These conditions can significantly hinder normal functioning, particularly in the nose and mouth region, impacting speech, eating, hearing, and breathing. If not treated, these conditions could potentially hinder a person’s development and functional abilities; in the majority of cases, surgical intervention is necessary to repair the abnormality. 

Cleft lip and palate repair are surgical procedures employed to rectify this atypical development, aiming to restore functionality to the lips and mouth while achieving a more natural appearance. Through specialized plastic surgery techniques, most clefts can be effectively repaired, enhancing your child’s eating, speaking, hearing, and breathing abilities.

Asymmetrical Face Surgery: 

In few children may be born with asymmetrical facial defects, like the facial part may not be aligned properly. In that case, asymmetrical face surgery may be recommended to align the facial organs. This can help improve the overall look and also boost self-esteem. 

When can a child undergo cleft lip and palate surgery?

Children who are looking to undergo cleft lip and palate surgery need to meet certain requirements,

  • The surgery is usually performed in children aged 2 to 6 months, and the health condition is also completely fine.
  • In case not performed at the age of 2 to 6 months, in that case for about 9 to 18 months of age, the surgery may be recommended after evaluating the health of the child. Consult the plastic surgeon in Coimbatore to ensure your child receives the best treatment.

What does the recovery after a reconstructive surgery look like?

Reconstructive surgery is conducted under general anesthesia, and in most cases, children may need to stay in the hospital for one or more nights to allow doctors to closely monitor their recovery. Following the surgery, your child may be required to wear a cast as a part of the recovery process. 

Your child needs to attend regular follow-up visits with the doctor every few weeks or as recommended to monitor the healing process. At these appointments, the doctor will take off the cast, and an occupational therapist, who is experienced in aiding individuals with their daily tasks, may provide your child with a properly fitted splint. This splint, known as contractures, is designed to prevent scarring and tissue shortening. The duration of splint usage varies based on the severity of the condition. 

Every child is provided an individualized postoperative recovery plan, which may involve physical and occupational therapy tailored to their age, health status, and the procedure they underwent. 

What are the major benefits of undergoing reconstructive surgery?

There are various benefits that you can seek from reconstructive surgery; a few common benefits include the following:

  • Improved breathing: 

Children with septum-related issues may have breathing issues, but after surgery, children can breathe without any issues. 

  • Improves self-esteem: 

Children with cleft lip and palate may face bullying, and this can affect their self-esteem. By undergoing surgery, it can improve the self-esteem of the children and help them battle these confidence issues.

Important Takeaway:

A birth defect can manifest as an abnormal physical change or a health issue at the time of a baby’s birth. These defects can range from mild, where the baby appears and behaves like other babies, to severe and potentially life-threatening. Some birth defects can be treated with surgery, improving critical conditions.

Specific birth defects, such as cognitive and learning disabilities, can be corrected, and certain heart defects, cleft lip, cleft palate, and other abnormalities are repairable through surgical interventions. Reach out to a plastic reconstructive surgery in Coimbatore if your child is dealing with any deformities.

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