Our comprehensive team follows more than 1,500 children born with cleft lip, palate, jaw and/or craniofacial disorders. The Frederick J. McCoy Cleft and Craniofacial Clinic is recognized by the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association and follows its protocols.
Cleft palate is a complex condition in children and can affect many areas of health including feeding, growth, speech, and more. The Cleft Palate team at Children’s Mercy is among the most experienced teams in the nation, treating more patients than any program in a six-state region and we excel in treating all areas of cleft lip and palate.
Our approach to care
For your first visit, your child will be seen by a board-certified, fellowship-trained pediatric plastic surgeon, and other highly trained pediatric providers. Your care team also may include specialists in dentistry, ear, nose, and throat; genetics, and other clinical departments to provide comprehensive diagnostic and treatment services. Families have access to the full range of services provided by a world-class children’s hospital, so all aspects of a child’s development can be addressed.
Through our expertise, our team helps minimize patient recovery time by using innovative, less invasive approaches to surgery. During your child’s surgery, a highly trained pediatric anesthesiologist who has experience in administering anesthesia precisely for the child's age, size, and condition will also be present.
What to expect
Typically, appointments for cleft palate patients are available within 24 hours of a request. We provide prenatal consults to parents who are expecting a child with a cleft lip or palate and educate families so they feel empowered to handle feeding, holding, and other important elements of the first days of a child’s life.
Families are paired with a surgeon at their first appointment to ensure consistent care and a point of contact throughout the care process. We then work to see babies within a few days of birth, and we encourage parents to send photos of their child immediately after birth so we can work to begin a treatment plan. In doing so, we hope to provide peace of mind to families during what is often a busy and stressful time. Families can preview surgery results through innovative 3D rendering technology, giving them a sense of how the surgery will benefit their child.
In addition to infants, our team works with older children who transition care from another provider or need further treatment. We also provide pre-adoption counseling for families planning to adopt children with cleft lip and palate, including children from overseas.
Cleft palate research and innovation
Patients also benefit from an innovative blood conservation program, which greatly reduces the need for blood transfusions during surgery. And our social workers provide ongoing support and access to community resources.
We are one of the few centers in the region to offer nasoalveolar molding (NAM) to treat cleft lip and palate. These devices are similar to retainers and re-shape the nostrils, gums, and lips of children. NAM can reduce the number of surgeries your child will need.