Our son was born with cleft palate. The first surgery he had went well but after about 4 months a fistula developed. Then he had a second surgery by the same doctor. Now we see what appears to be a second fistula. We are getting nervous about this. It’s not that we don’t trust the doctor, but will this keep recurring? Thank you. Kimberly
We understand your concern. In rare cases, a fistula, or opening, will form after surgery has been formed to close the palate, or roof of the mouth.
The opening is a result of inadequate healing of the surgical site. The size and location of the opening are evaluated to determine the best options for treating it.
If a fistula is small, it may be left alone to see if it will heal, or until the child is older. Often a 12-month waiting period is passed before another surgery is performed to close the opening. Large openings will need to be surgically closed. But there may be other options.
You can receive a second opinion for your son from a prosthodontist who is experienced in cleft palate treatment. The second opinion may give you reassurance regarding the current treatment recommendations for your son, or it may give you more information about your options.
This post is sponsored by Naperville board-certified prosthodontist Dr. Anthony LaVacca.