Surgeries to repair a cleft lip and/or cleft palate are different for each child. Correcting a soft palate problem often involves the combined skills of your craniofacial surgeon, orthodontist and speech/language pathologist (SLP).
Your Craniofacial team will study your child and perform many tests to decide how cleft lip and palate surgery will be done. The structure and function of the soft palate are tested by:
- Visual exam
- Videofluoroscopy (motion X-ray pictures)
- Special fiber-optic scopes
- Computerized instruments
These studies help us decide how your child's cleft lip and palate will be treated. If these studies are needed, your SLP will teach you about the tests.
Most children need only one surgery, but some need follow-up work as well. Your craniofacial surgeon, orthodontist and SLP will talk with you if your child needs further surgery.
After surgery, your SLP may give your child a set of sounds to practice. These speech exercises will most likely become much easier as your child heals. Follow your SLP's advice to help your child improve his speech as quickly as possible.