Understanding cleft palate surgery

Dr. Ed Buchanan, a pediatric plastic surgeon, explains what parents need to know about their child's cleft palate or cleft lip, and how to get the best treatment
Family Health Advice | Understanding cleft palate and cleft lip - surgery and treatment
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Understanding cleft palate surgery

So it’s important for families who are expecting a baby with a cleft lip or a cleft palate to understand that when treating a child with this condition, it’s a lifelong process. And it starts with day #1, and it continues until they graduate from a multi-disciplinary cleft clinic by 18-19 years of age. There are interventions and therapies that go on during a child’s lifetime that need to be adjusted according to the child’s age. Once a child reaches those milestones, then they can get the appropriate treatment or therapy or even surgery if that’s indicated. It’s important for families to know that if their child does have a cleft lip and palate that they should be treated at a center for cleft lip and palate and that it’s a multi-disciplinary clinic that has practitioners ranging from plastic surgeons to otolaryngologists to speech pathologists to geneticists to genetic counselors to social workers, nutritionists, and there’s a long list of people who need to be on this team so their child can get this care. Unfortunately if they don’t go to a center which is multi-disciplinary sometimes things can be left behind and sometimes treatments can be delayed and that becomes a problem as the child develops further.

Dr. Ed Buchanan, a pediatric plastic surgeon, explains what parents need to know about their child's cleft palate or cleft lip, and how to get the best treatment


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Edward Buchanan

Pediatric Plastic Surgeon & Author

Dr. Edward P. Buchanan is an Assistant Professor of Surgery in the Division of Plastic Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.  He is the Chief of Cleft and Craniofacial Surgery at Texas Children’s Hospital. Before coming to Houston, he trained in Plastic Surgery at Stanford University and did further training in Pediatric Plastic Surgery and Craniofacial Surgery at Seattle Children’s Hospital in Seattle, Washington.  Although he performs all kinds of Plastic and Pediatric Plastic Surgery, his main focus of practice is Cleft Lip and Palate Surgery as well as Craniofacial Surgery.When he is not in Houston, Dr. Buchanan enjoys traveling to countries across the globe to teach and learn from other surgeons.  His most recent trip was to Lilongwe, Malawi, where he was a member of the Texas Children’s Hospital Global Surgical Initiative to help perform and teach Cleft and Pediatric Plastic Surgery.He recently wrote a children’s book entitled, “The Adventures of the Prickly Pear and the Happy Hoglet: Beginning the Journey of the Mental Ninja.” The book is intended to help children begin to develop a healthy self-image so that they can begin their Journey to becoming Mental Ninja’s (mentalninja.org).  The story was inspired by the children and family’s Dr. Buchanan has cared for over the years. 

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