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Oral clefting including lip and palate clefts is a prevalent congenital deformity in newborns. It shall be addressed within the first year after the baby is born. Otherwise, it will interfere with the speaking ability of the children and their social life will be affected either.

The affected individuals will later need to undergo secondary surgery. This is because the person’s lip appearance is not well enhanced through the initial surgery.

The rate of prevalence of this condition in Iran is high, almost as high as it is among American and European countries, based on various  studies . As the medical tourism hub of the middle east, the country has excelled in offering affordable yet effective cleft lip and cleft palate repair surgery in recent years.

To see whether this country is a suitable option for you to get your cleft lip and palate surgery done in, follow this clue as we are going to give you some good reasons and information in this respect. But before anything else, let us learn more about the treatment itself.

WHAT IS CLEFT LIP/PALATE?

Cleft lip and palate, also known as orofacial clefts, refer to a condition in which an opening forms in the upper lip or palate. The opening may extend to reach the nose (complete cleft lip). The infant may have either a cleft lip or cleft palate or may be born with both. The cleft may only be on one side of the lip (unilateral) or on both sides of the lip (bilateral).

Cleft lip forms between the fourth and seventh weeks of pregnancy. It happens if the tissue that makes up the lip does not join completely before birth, and this causes a split or opening in the upper lip.

Cleft palate happens between the sixth and ninth weeks of pregnancy. It happens if the tissue that makes up the mouth does not join together completely. It is noted that a high number of patients with a cleft palate may suffer from cardiac, limb, or other system defects.

A cleft can be quite visible, and it usually leads to behavioral and social problems. It also causes a multitude of medical problems, including speech production, eating, breathing, hearing loss, maxillofacial growth, and dentition.

WHAT IS CLEFT LIP/PALATE REPAIR?

There are two surgical treatments for the correction of the clefts: cleft lip repair or cheiloplasty and cleft palate repair or palatoplasty.

In both surgeries, the opening in your upper lip or roof of your mouth is closed to restore the function and appearance of your lip and palate.

WHY CLEFT LIP AND CLEFT PALATE REPAIR IN IRAN?

Not a developed country in many respects, Iran may not seem a great place, in the first place, to get your cleft lip/palate fixed in. That’s why we dedicated this section to consider the advantages you would gain by choosing this country as your surgery destination.

First, Effective Cleft Lip/Palate Surgery

The number of  plastic surgeries  including cleft lip and palate repair in Iran is high as the beauty craze has made its way through the young population. This has contributed to increasing the quality of such surgeries in the country.

The country has achieved significant progress in treating oral clefts in recent decades. If it hadn’t been for the great expertise of the Iranian surgeons, this achievement wouldn’t have been possible.

Now, the country’s considered to be a “model” for other countries in cleft plasty, said Professor Brian Sommerlad, who has traveled to Iran and many other countries to work with local surgeons practicing in this field. (Dr. Sommerlad is a reputable plastic surgeon and specialist in London who has devoted his life to helping other communities treat lip and palate clefts, establishing a charity to support the research activities in this area as well as the cleft teams in less-developed countries.)

Second, Guaranteed Services

As the patients go abroad for treatment with the help of a medical tourism facilitator, they can easily receive guaranteed healthcare. This is because these companies are committed to accreditation, quality assurance, and transparency of pricing and results.

Third, Affordable Trip and Treatment

As the out-of-pocket expenses of medical/cosmetic surgeries continue to rise, people are pursuing cross-border healthcare to save money. In Iran, the cost of treatment of any kind is far less than many other places. One can easily save up to 80% while getting their treatment in a top-rated private hospital/medical center.

Fourth, Treatment without Delay

You can get your surgery done in this country without it being postponed to a later time, as there is no waiting list involved.

COST OF CLEFT LIP REPAIR/CLEFT PALATE REPAIR IN IRAN

The cost of cleft surgery depends on the patient’s condition i.e. defect severity. Usually, for a cleft lip repair in Iran, you would be charged from around $2,000 to $4,000. Cleft palate surgery in Iran would cost around $3,000 to $4,000. This is while the same procedures cost from $5,000 to $20,000 and more in western countries.

HOW IS CLEFT REPAIR PERFORMED IN IRAN?

Cleft repair surgery can be complicated depending on the patient’s condition. The surgery may be done early in life or/and in adulthood. Depending on the extent of the repair needed, a cleft may require one, two or more surgeries, the first one being performed when the baby is 3-12 months old.

Cleft Lip Repair

A cleft lip is the most common defect among patients with oral clefts. The cleft lip should be repaired most ideally within the 3rd – 6th month of life. However, it may need one or two surgeries later.

The surgery starts with general anesthesia administration. The surgeon makes delicate incisions on the sides of the opening area. The remained tissue and muscle are pulled down. The skin is then stitched so that the cleft is closed.

Cleft Palate Repair

A cleft palate should be corrected most ideally within the 12th-14th month of life. There are two ways for cleft palate treatment:

  • Plastic surgery, and
  • Covering the cleft palate by a palatal obturator (a prosthetic device made to fit the roof of the mouth covering the gap).

Through the plastic surgery, the surgeon connects the muscles of the soft palate and rearranges the tissues to close the cleft, creating a palate that works well for speech.

The individuals with a cleft palate may also need a bone graft at the age of 8 to fill the upper gum.

The palate repair surgery can last from 1 to 2 hours. If the patient suffers from both lip and palate clefting, the procedure will last longer.

REVISION SURGERY

Revision surgery refers to the second/third procedures which may be required during adulthood.

For a repaired lip, the procedure is called lip revision or revision cheiloplasty. It aims at improving the appearance of the repaired lip and nose. It may be done when the child is 5 to 8 years old or during adulthood.

For a repaired palate, the revision surgery can be done to serve various purposes. They include eliminating the speech problems (through z-plasty or pharyngeal flap), correcting jaws, or providing enough bone for your teeth (through bone graft).

Furthermore,  rhinoplasty  or  scar revision surgery  can be done if the patient’s nose shape needs improvement or there are scar marks left from the previous surgeries.

RECOVERY AFTER CLEFT REPAIR SURGERY

Depending on the procedure, the recovery takes from 1 to 2 weeks. The baby or the adult patient may expect to see bruises, redness, and light bleeding during this time. Pain and discomfort are also normal.

In general, the stitches are absorbable and the patients are not required to visit their doctor to remove them. A bandage may be put on the surgical area for a few days following the operation.

During recovery, the patient should follow the doctor’s instruction. The surgical site must be kept clean. Also, your child is not allowed to put their fingers or hard objects in their mouth for a few weeks if they undergo a palate repair surgery.

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