Nine successful cleft surgeries performed independently at GPHC


The Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC)’s plastic surgery and maxillofacial teams successfully and independently performed nine cleft repair surgeries at the weekend.

According to a statement from the country’s main referral hospital on Monday, six of the procedures were cleft lip repairs and three were cleft palate repairs. The life-changing surgeries were possible after the hospital was certified as a Smile Train Centre last year, marking four years of successful partnership.

“[The] Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation continues to be committed to transforming the lives of children with cleft conditions, ensuring they receive comprehensive care and support for a brighter and healthier future,” the hospital said.

The cleft palate showing the before and after for the surgery. (Photo: GPHC)

The ultimate goal is to correct cleft lips when the patient is at least 3 months old and cleft palates when they are at least 9 months old, provided they are in good health, the hospital said.

Smile Train is an international charity dedicated to providing Comprehensive Cleft Care. GPHC’s journey with the institution started in 2019 under the expert guidance of Dr. Louise LaBerge and Dr. Richard Raker. Dr. Rajkumar, Dr. Aguila, and Dr. Arturo were trained in cleft lip, cleft palate, and anaesthetic care, respectively.

Three trainees became educators in this area and are training new staff to perform these surgeries. The statement said the success demonstrates the sustainability and capacity-building approach employed by the two institutions.

To date, GPHC – Smile Train has successfully completed surgical corrections for 71 patients, including 41 primary unilateral cleft lip repairs, 8 primary bilateral lip repairs, 39 cleft palate repairs, 6 oronasal fistula repairs, and one alveolar bone grafting.

GPHC has also expanded its services to include Nutrition and Speech therapy components. Nutritionists work closely with patients to achieve feeding goals and improve overall health. This allows for parents and caregivers of children with clefts to get educated on specialized feeding techniques to navigate their unique anatomy.

Following palatoplasty, speech therapy is administered to enhance the speech development of the young patients.

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