Cleft Lip and/or Cleft Palate

Cleft lip and/or palate occurs 1 in 700 live births, making it the most common birth problem. Children born with a cleft lip and/or palate and related disorders may face a variety of challenges in areas to include: feeding, hearing, dentition, resonance, speech production and language, facial growth, vision, learning and psychosocial issues. For these reasons, it is critical that care is provided in a team environment working with a multitude of specialists. As a main focus of the FCI practice and the most common craniofacial birth defect, our team has performed thousands of surgical procedures for cleft lip and palate repair.

A team approach provides pediatric patients with a comprehensive, state-of-the-art, interdisciplinary solution to treating complex craniofacial anomalies. In an effort to increase patient convenience, often all specialists are present to maximize the patient’s time. Caregivers and family members are encouraged to ask questions throughout the decision-making process. Another benefit is that often tandem surgeries can be performed to reduce hospitalizations. For one example, as in this case, a lip or palate repair may be performed in coordination with an ENT specialist placing ear ventilation tubes.
The doctors of Florida Craniofacial Institute offer complimentary prenatal consultations for expectant parents, providing them opportunities to meet with the team and have questions answered. This allows parents to learn how to use specialized feeding techniques, and they are provided bottles ahead of birth to feel fully prepared for their baby’s arrival.

Because of her training in dentistry, medicine and surgery, Dr. Ricalde specializes in the management of cleft lip and palate. She can monitor growth throughout the child’s progression and provide the necessary dental, alveolar, facial and jaw formation treatments throughout development. The multi-stage process of cleft repair can all be done with Florida Craniofacial Institute, from infancy to adulthood.

Our focus is to help children grow into adulthood with minimal facial and psychologic scarring.