A cleft lip, or harelip, is the most common major facial deformity in the U.S. The cleft causes significant difficulty with speech and eating and often occurs in combination with a cleft palate. In the U.S., a single stage repair is usually performed around 3-6 months of age. Remaining nasal asymmetries often require touch-up surgery as the child matures.
A cleft in the upper jaw and/or roof of the mouth distorts speech and allows food to go into the nose. Sinus and ear infections are common. Surgical correction of a cleft palate is usually performed around 9-12 months of age.
Dr. Armstrong has traveled on medical mission trips around the world to perform these procedures to children and adults who had no access to expert care.