As a father of four, Dr. Jeffrey Cone has built his practice around a simple principle: to treat his pediatric patients with the standard of care and attention that he would want for his own children.
“I am often asked, ‘How did you choose pediatric plastic surgery?’ and the answer is simple. This field is one of the few that combines cutting edge science with artistry in order to significantly improve a child’s life. As a result, it is both challenging and incredibly rewarding. Few things are as fulfilling as a big smile from a child because of his or her excitement about a result. From my perspective, this makes it the best job in the world.” – Dr. Jeffrey Cone
A cleft palate is a common and treatable condition that our pediatric craniofacial surgeons resolve for children every day. The condition:
A brief overview of the treatment plan is as follows. Please call us today to learn more about each of these steps.
As with every newborn, the emphasis is on helping your child feed well, and with cleft palate this may require feeding or bottle modifications.
One of the most important techniques that we use in the first few months of a baby’s life is nasal alveolar molding (NAM). The NAM is a small, individually tailored plastic appliance that the baby wears daily to bring together the different parts of the lip. With the NAM approach, our doctors can promote a significantly better outcome following treatment.
If your baby has both a cleft lip and cleft palate, he / she will have cleft lip surgery at this point. We have performed this procedure for patients with needs ranging from simple to complex, providing outstanding functional and cosmetic results. In some cases, we will also repair the soft palate at the same time, which can be a powerful technique in optimizing good outcomes. We will help your child feel as safe, cared for, and comfortable as possible throughout the experience.
Infants with cleft palates are prone to middle ear infections and fluid buildup. We like to have one of our ENT colleagues evaluate patients in the first several months of life and can place ear tubes if necessary. This is a simple and effective way to prevent hearing loss and chronic infections. The doctors in our practice regularly participate in international mission work, where we incorporate this technique when treating children in some of the world’s most underdeveloped countries.
We may recommend repairing your child’s cleft palate surgically at this stage of his or her development. Studies show that:
As with the cleft lip procedure, your child will have the surgery in a pediatric hospital, under the attention of a board certified pediatric anesthesiologist. You can feel confident in the quality of treatment your family will receive both from your Wellspring Craniofacial Group doctor and from the hospital staff. The facilities we choose for surgery are recognized as being among the best in our area and have great resources and professionals.
At this point following cleft palate surgery, our team will begin monitoring your child’s speech development. We want to ensure that scar tissue from surgery doesn’t get in the way of normal speech, which should progress by age four. Speech therapy can improve certain challenges, but about 15% of patients benefit from a follow-up surgical procedure.
“These people are so much more than a cleft care team. They are there to support families and patients in the most comprehensive way possible. I thank God every day for their presence in my daughter’s life.”
Dr. Cone is an excellent doctor – skilled, personable, considerate, and kind. He performed our child’s procedure flawlessly and with great care and remained attentive both to our questions and to putting our child at ease with his peaceful demeanor and gentle encouragement and humor.
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