2,000 free cleft lip operations in 7 yrs bring smile to many faces

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Mar 25, 2016 13:13 IST
The right age of treatment of a child with a cleft lip is six-months, and for a child with a cleft palate is one year. (IStock)

The Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) along with NGO Smile train has operated nearly 2,000 children suffering from cleft lip and palate in the past seven years that too free of cost.

A cleft is a separation of the parts of the lip or roof of the mouth that results when they fail to join during the early weeks of prenatal development (from 5 to 12 weeks of pregnancy).

“A cleft can have detrimental effects on appearance, eating and speech as well as causes ear and dental complications. Most importantly, it impacts the confidence of the child,” said Dr Ramesh Sharma, head, plastic surgery department, PGIMER.

“The disorder may also cause social impairment, particularly if treatment is not timely undertaken. Treatment of such defects involves a highly specialised team of plastic surgeons, maxillofacial surgeons, paediatric surgeons, otolaryngologists, orthodontists, paedodontists and speech therapists,”he added.

He said the right age of treatment of a child with a cleft lip is when a child is six-months old, and a one-year-old child should be treated for cleft palate.

A study was conducted at the unit of orthodontics, oral health sciences centre, PGIMER, to find out the incidence of cleft deformity in the city. The study found that the incidence of cleft deformity in Chandigarh was calculated at 0.97/1000 live births.

Dr Ashima Goyal, professor, oral health sciences centre, PGIMER said, “In two months time, we come across 200 children (new and old cases) suffering from cleft lip and palate. Chances of the cavity are double in these children in comparison to others and these children have mal-aligned teeth and there are several other dental issues.”

All babies with cleft deformity who were born on January 1, 2009, to December 31, 2010, at all city hospitals were included in the study.

During interaction with parents it was observed that they were unaware of these problems and possible treatment options available for them.

The overall incidence of cleft deformity was significantly higher among males. It was also observed that the first born baby had more chances of getting afflicted more with this deformity followed up by second, third and fourth.

Cost of cleft lip and palate surgery at PGIMER general ward is Rs 7000-8,000 and at private ward the fee is Rs 15,000-20,000.

PGI to host society’s meet

The Oral Health Sciences Centre of Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research is hosting the 15th Annual Conference of Indian Society of Cleft Lip Palate & Craniofacial Anomalies from in Bhargava Auditorium from March 25-27.

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