Plastic Surgery can correct a large number of birth defects, occurring in various locations in the body. Some of the commonly occurring conditions are-
Clefts- These can be divided into the typical clefts (cleft lip and palate) and atypical clefts (craniofacial clefts)
Cleft Lip and Palate : A cleft lip occurs once in 700 live births. In this condition, the infant has a vertical cleft in upper lip and some deformity (flattening with deviation) of nose. The severity may vary from simple notching of lip, to a wide defect. A cleft palate occurs once in 2000 live births. The cleft in this instance, is in roof of the mouth (hard palate) and soft palate (the soft tissue behind hard palate) and in some cases, also in alveolus (the tooth bearing area in the region of lateral incisor and canine). As a result, there is regurgitation of milk from mouth into nose and difficulty in speech due to air escaping from mouth into the nose. (soft palate is unable to rise and partition the nasal cavity from oral cavity during speech). There is also, a chance of recurrent middle ear infections, resulting in varying degrees of deafness. The two conditions may be combined and then the defect if known as unilateral cleft lip and palate. The defect may also be on both sides, and then is known as bilateral cleft lip and palate. Fortunately, most of the defects can be corrected by surgery.The surgery for cleft lip is carried out at age3- 5 months and cleft palate at age 7-9 months.
Craniofacial (Atypical Clefts) : These clefts have been classified as per the direction and structures involved, into 16 different types. These are relatively rare.