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Beyond Beauty Blog: The Surgeon's Secrets

What do Joaquin Phoenix and King Tut have in common?

Both the Oscar-nominated actor and the Egyptian child king were born with clefts. A cleft is an opening or gap in the bone and/or soft tissue of the nose, mouth, and palate, typically formed before birth. They are more common than you might think: approximately 1 in 700 newborns have a cleft lip and/or palate. In fact, football player Peyton Manning, NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw, and the Reverend Jesse Jackson were all born with clefts too! In addition to the cosmetic concerns that may leave a psychological impact on young kids vulnerable to bullying, a cleft lip and/or palate also presents a number of functional difficulties. These can include difficulty feeding, susceptibility to inner ear infections, delayed or impaired speech function, and abnormal dental development. Some children born with clefts also have associated nasal malformations. To avoid or lessen the above risks, it’s important to close the cleft within the first 2-3 months following birth. Generally this closure happens surgically. The surgeon attaches the muscles of the lip, then attempts to hide thep1 scar in the natural lines of the upper lip.

Because the surgery happens at such an early age, the baby’s young, elastic skin tends to heal quickly and be more forgiving than more mature skin. Scars of childhood often heal faster and more invisibly that scars in adults. In spite of this, many adults find the scars from their cleft palate and lip repair to be fairly obvious. Revision surgery can be not only traumatic and inexact, but unpredictable and expensive. Dr. Yagoda offers an accurate, non-surgical option to fine-tune cleft lip and nose asymmetries with injectable fillers. Fillers can achieve the look of a polished, closed cleft without the downtime, potential scarring, and cost of a surgical repair.

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