What Can Be Done For My Cleft Lip And Nose Deformities As An Adult?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I have decided that I would like to have my cleft lip scar and nose asymmetry repaired. Besides the surgeries for primary repair as a child, I have never considered surgery, so I have no experience in what to look for, how to choose the right surgeon, etc. I was very impressed by your website and the way it explains things. I am very serious about having this procedure done, I just need to figure out the logistics with scheduling, recovery time, costs involved, etc. Please let me know what my next steps should be. Thank you very much.

A: Even with the best primary cleft lip and nose repair as an infant, growth and ongoing facial development of the scarred area will result in lip and nose asymmetries. Most of these secondary deformities are quite classic and include vermilion notching, a vermilion-cutaneous mismatch, wide philtral scarring of the lip and tip asymmetry with nostril slumping and widening of the nose. As an adult, the best nose repair comes from a complete septorhinoplasty with cartilage grafting and a cleft lip revision. These usually can be done during the same surgery. Recovery largely revolves around the nose and includes the wearing of a nasal splint for a week after surgery. You should be back to work within 10 days after surgery.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana