Adult Cleft Lip and Palate Program

Adults who have had corrective cleft lip/palate surgery as children often continue to experience speech, dental, or appearance-related complications or concerns. Although both the technology and the techniques to correct such issues have improved dramatically in the past two decades, many adults with cleft lip/palate may not know where to turn for help. Many remain unaware that there are treatment options that can significantly improve their outcomes.

Now, Nationwide Children’s Hospital has created one of the few comprehensive adult cleft lip/palate programs in the country –a program specifically designed to address the care of adults with orofacial clefts. Drawing on the experience and expertise of Nationwide Children’s internationally-recognized Child Cleft Lip and Palate Center and on a solid partnership with the nationally-ranked Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, adults now have access to specialists and services that can help restore not only appearance and function, but also confidence and quality of life. Because cleft lip and palate may be inherited, our program also provides information and counseling for adults who are considering having children of their own.

Our Team

The Adult Cleft Lip/Palate Program at Nationwide Children’s is an ideal place for those who may have felt frustrated by the lack of services available to adult patients and professionals who understand their condition. Our program was designed with an appreciation of the challenges that those with facial clefts may have endured throughout their lives and offers patients access to an interdisciplinary group of experts who are considered some of the nation’s foremost authorities in cleft repair and habilitation. Our program specialists:

  • Provide comprehensive physical, social and emotional care using the latest techniques and technologies.
  • Are leaders of national organizations who have published dozens of scientific papers on reconstructive surgery and care of cleft conditions.
  • Have edited the textbooks used to train other professionals in cleft care.
  • Conduct vital speech-language research that is recognized and supported by the National Institutes of Health.
  • Collaborate with prosthodontists and healthcare professionals from The Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center, ensuring quality and specialty treatment for adult patients.

Available Services

  • Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery to repair or correct:
    • Hypernasal speech
    • Fistulas (holes between the mouth and nasal cavity)
    • Alveolar clefts (clefts in the gums)
    • Lip contour and symmetry
    • Nasal contour and symmetry
  • Adult Dental/Orthodontic/Maxillofacial Corrections, including:
    • Malocclusion
    • Underdevelopment of the upper jaw
    • Displaced or crooked teeth
  • Speech Therapy
  • ENT (Otolaryngology)
  • Audiology
  • Prosthodontics
  • Genetic Counseling
  • Psychotherapy
  • Assistance with insurance companies and reimbursement

What to Expect

Each patient is evaluated by a team of specialists specifically chosen to meet that individual’s goals and needs. After an initial visit with the team, the patient will receive a personalized treatment plan detailing the recommended procedures and treatment sequencing. Many procedures are performed on an outpatient basis at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. If multiple surgeries are needed, the team makes every effort to work with a patient’s schedule to minimize time away from work and home. For procedures that require extended hospital stays, Nationwide Children’s provides a concierge service to help patients and their families with travel and accommodation details. Here are links to resources that can help patients prepare for their visit: