Cleft Clinic

The Cleft Clinic at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital is a dedicated clinic that provides comprehensive care and support for children born with cleft lip and/or palate. Led by a team of skilled surgeons, pediatricians, nurses, orthodontists, dieticians and speech-language pathologists, the clinic offers a multidisciplinary approach to address the unique needs of each child. The clinic provides a range of services including surgical interventions, speech therapy, orthodontic treatment and specialized feeding support. The team at the Cleft Clinic collaborates closely with families to develop personalized treatment plans to ensure the best possible outcome for each individual child.

With a focus on holistic care, the clinic also offers counseling and educational resources to assist families in navigating the challenges associated with cleft facial differences. The Cleft Clinic at Le Bonheur is committed to providing compassionate, comprehensive care to children with cleft lip and palate. Our goal is to help kids and families achieve the best possible outcomes and confidence as they develop and grow.

Why Choose the Le Bonheur Cleft Clinic

Le Bonheur's Cleft Clinic has several unique aspects for the care of children with cleft lip and palate:

  • Expertise and Experience: The Le Bonheur Cleft Clinic is staffed by a team of highly experienced and skilled professionals who specialize in treating cleft lip and palate conditions. The clinic's plastic surgeons, pediatricians, speech-language pathologists and other health care providers have extensive expertise in the comprehensive management of these conditions, ensuring that patients receive the highest quality of care.
  • Multidisciplinary Approach: Our clinic follows a multidisciplinary approach, bringing together various specialists to address the diverse needs of children with cleft lip and palate. This collaborative approach ensures that all aspects of the child's care, including surgical, speech, orthodontic and feeding interventions, are coordinated and integrated, leading to comprehensive and cohesive treatment plans.
  • Comprehensive Services: The Le Bonheur Cleft Clinic offers a wide range of services tailored to meet the unique needs of children with cleft lip and palate. These services may include surgical interventions, speech therapy, orthodontic treatment, feeding support and counseling. Having all these services available in one clinic simplifies the coordination of care and enhances convenience for families.
  • Family-Centered Care: The clinic places a strong emphasis on family-centered care, recognizing that the well-being and involvement of parents and caregivers are crucial to the success of the child's treatment. The team at the Le Bonheur Cleft Clinic actively involves families in decision-making, provides emotional support and offers educational resources to empower them in managing their child's condition effectively.
  • Supportive Environment: Le Bonheur Children's Hospital provides a warm and welcoming environment for children and their families. The clinic's staff understands the challenges and concerns that families may face when dealing with cleft lip and palate, and they strive to create a supportive and compassionate atmosphere throughout the treatment journey.
  • Research and Innovation: Le Bonheur Children's Hospital is committed to advancing the field of cleft lip and palate care through ongoing research and innovation. By choosing the Le Bonheur Cleft Clinic, patients and families have the opportunity to benefit from the latest advancements and participate in cutting-edge treatments or clinical trials.

Overall, the Le Bonheur Cleft Clinic stands out as a premier center for cleft lip and palate care due to its expertise, multidisciplinary approach, comprehensive services, family-centered care, supportive environment and commitment to research and innovation. Families can feel confident in choosing the Le Bonheur Cleft Clinic for their child's care, knowing that they will receive exceptional treatment and support throughout their journey.

Conditions We Treat

The Le Bonheur Cleft Clinic specializes in the comprehensive treatment and care of children with various cleft lip and palate conditions. These conditions may include:

  • Cleft Lip: The clinic provides evaluation, surgical repair and follow-up care for children born with a cleft lip. This includes unilateral cleft lip (a cleft on one side of the lip) and bilateral cleft lip (a cleft on both sides of the lip).
  • Cleft Palate: The clinic offers assessment, surgical correction and ongoing management for children with cleft palate. This includes both complete cleft palate (involving the hard and soft palate) and submucous cleft palate (a defect in the muscles and tissues of the palate without an obvious visible cleft).
  • Combined Cleft Lip and Palate: Children with a combination of cleft lip and cleft palate receive comprehensive care at the clinic. The team addresses the surgical repair of the lip and palate and provides ongoing management for any associated speech, feeding or dental concerns.
  • Speech Disorders and Feeding Challenges: The Le Bonheur Cleft Clinic offers evaluation, intervention and therapy for speech and language disorders associated with cleft lip and palate. This includes speech sound disorders, resonance disorders and articulation difficulties. A common type of speech disorder found in children with cleft palate is velopharyngeal insufficiency (VPI) which occurs when the back part of the roof of the mouth and the throat don't work together to make a good seal when the child is talking. Our clinic also provides specialized feeding support and guidance to address any feeding challenges that may arise due to the cleft lip and palate.
  • Orthodontic and Dental Care: We work in collaboration with orthodontists and dental specialists to provide orthodontic interventions and dental care for children with cleft lip and palate. This may involve addressing dental anomalies, managing tooth eruption (when a child's teeth begin to come in) and coordinating orthodontic treatment to optimize dental and facial development. We also provide orthognathic (jaw) surgery services for teenagers.

What to Expect During Your Visit

During your visit to the Le Bonheur Cleft Clinic, you can expect a comprehensive and patient-centered approach to your child's care. We try to make the visit as fun and efficient as we can! Here's what you can anticipate during your visit:

  • Initial Evaluation: Your first visit to the clinic will involve a thorough evaluation of your child's condition. The team of health care professionals, including plastic surgeons, otolaryngologists, pediatricians, speech-language pathologists and other specialists, will assess your child's cleft lip and/or palate, as well as any associated concerns such as speech or feeding difficulties. They will review your child's medical history, perform a physical examination and may order additional tests or imaging if necessary.
  • Development of a Treatment Plan: Based on the evaluation, the team will collaborate with you to develop a personalized treatment plan for your child. This plan may include surgical interventions, speech therapy, orthodontic treatment and other necessary interventions tailored to your child's specific needs. The team will explain the proposed treatments, answer your questions and address any concerns you may have.
  • Coordination of Care: The Le Bonheur Cleft Clinic follows a multidisciplinary approach, meaning that different specialists work together to provide coordinated care. During your visit, the team will ensure that all necessary appointments, procedures and therapies are scheduled and coordinated efficiently. This integrated approach aims to streamline your child's care and minimize any potential disruptions or delays.
  • Education and Support: The clinic recognizes the importance of providing education and support to families. You can expect to receive information and resources to help you better understand your child's condition, the recommended treatments and how to manage any challenges that may arise. The team will offer guidance on feeding techniques, speech development, oral hygiene and other aspects of care. Additionally, the clinic may provide counseling services to support your emotional well-being and help you navigate the journey of raising a child with cleft lip and palate.
  • Ongoing Follow-up: Treatment for cleft lip and palate is typically a long-term process that may extend over several years as your child grows and develops. The Le Bonheur Cleft Clinic will schedule regular follow-up visits to monitor your child's progress, adjust treatment plans as needed and address any concerns that may arise along the way. These follow-up appointments are essential for ensuring optimal outcomes and providing ongoing support for your child's overall well-being.
  • Collaboration and Family Involvement: The clinic places great importance on collaboration and involving families in the care process. You can expect to be actively involved in decision-making regarding your child's treatment, with the team listening to your input and addressing any questions or concerns you may have. The clinic values open communication and encourages families to share their perspectives, ensuring that the care provided is personalized and aligns with your family's goals and values.

Contact Craniofacial and Cleft Program