You'll find hundreds of files on cleft lip, cleft palate here on widesmiles.org.

This one is about: Fistulas / Surgery Failing


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Fistulas/ Palate Surgery Failing Question

A parent writes:

I have been hearing of a lot of palate surgeries failing, how common is that? My baby is due for surgery soon and I am starting to worry that he will have to have more than one to close his palate.

Response:

Absolute failure is uncommon. However, fistula - - a small reopening of the palate tissues - - is somewhat common. Certainly still in a minority of cases, but it happens even to the best of doctors. One key is after care. Be as careful as you can be and don't fudge the rules any. But even the most careful mom can still end up dealing with a fistula. That's because infection and trauma are only two of many possible threats to palate surgery success. Blood flow to the suture line is critical, and is largely up to the doctor (though dehydration can be a problem there), stress can have an effect (like tons and tons of strenuous crying) and also the distance covered in relation to the amount of available tissue plays a part (wide clefts with little skin are more apt to reopen). This is why sometimes doctors opt to wait a while till there has been more tissue growth. However, even on the occasion that the palate comes apart 
again, there has usually been some tissue stretching (more tissue available for a second try) and there is most of the time some part of it that is successful, which leaves a smaller distance to cover the next time.

Please don't let this scare you. Like I said, it does not always happen. The goal is in fact, a completely successful repair. Most of the time that goal is met. None of my three has ever had a fistula.

Joanne Green
Wide Smiles
widesmiles@aol.com


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