The Foundation at a Glance

1. We treat children with cleft lip/palate and other craniofacial (skull and facial) disorders.
2. Our treatment utilizes advanced technology including morphogenesis, which is craniofacial reconstruction with bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) and craniofacial distraction osteogenesis (DO).
3. Our surgeons are experienced and knowledgeable at correcting these disorders using these surgical techniques with a high success rate.

The most common disorder encountered by any pediatric maxillofacial surgeon is the child with a cleft lip and palate. One child in every 600 children is born with a cleft palate so it’s a very common problem. These children have entirely normal developmental potential and must be given every opportunity to become all that they can. Obstacles to leading a full and normal life include (1) the gap in the upper lip, (2) the missing section of the upper jaw affecting tooth development and eating, (3) the soft palate affecting speech, and (4) the midfacial skeleton affecting jaw function and facial aesthetics.

Standard cleft lip and palate treatment involves the surgical closure of the lip and oral soft tissue (skin, muscle, vessels, and nerves). When the child is five to eight years old, bone is surgically removed from the child’s hip and used to fill the gap in front of the upper jaw that represents the cleft palate. Beyond Faces’ surgeons have pioneered an improved treatment.


Scope of Treatment

Repair of the cleft lip restores the most dramatic, outward deficiency of the cleft lip and palate condition. Effective lip repair involves anatomic restoration of the skin, muscles, and nerves that failed to fuse during embryologic development. The total rehabilitation of the child, however, involves much more. The cleft of the palate impacts speech, swallowing, and breathing. Also involved is a gap in the upper jaw that is important for the development of teeth and eating. Comprehensive cleft lip and palate treatment provided through Beyond Faces addresses the full scope of the cleft lip and palate disorder. Comprehensive surgical management requires many steps to achieve the best result.

1. Lip repair entails more than the simple surgical closure of the divided lip. To achieve a functional and cosmetic result, the repair must restore the normal muscle continuity that was disrupted by the cleft process. This will allow normal lip movement. The manner in which the lip is repaired is vital to the next stage.

2. Soft palate repair comprises repair of the division of the muscles and mucosa that form the back of the roof of the mouth. This area of the mouth is critical to the development of normal speech. The manner in which the soft palate is repaired also impacts later growth of the upper jaw and midface.

3. Anterior palate and alveolar cleft repair requires reconstruction of the front half of the upper jaw. The deficiency involves a gap in the upper jaw bone, a hole between the mouth and the nasal cavity, and a missing section of the upper jaw that will house future permanent teeth. Beyond Faces developed a process to grow living bone across the skeletal gap using growth inducing proteins. These bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) have replaced the need to harvest bone from the child. The entire cleft palate bone defect can be filled in a single operation. Accomplishing this result requires both access to the new technology and the surgical experience of Beyond Faces to perform such a unique procedure.

4. Distraction osteogenesis involves specialized implant devices that cause bone and soft tissue to enlarge. This technology was developed by Beyond Faces surgeons who have years of experience with this method. Distraction osteogenesis is used to enlarge upper jaws, close difficult clefts, and lengthen mandibles in the cleft patient.

5. Osseointegration is the process by which dental implants heal into bone. Beyond Faces surgeons are experienced in comprehensive dentoalveolar (the part of the upper or lower jaw housing the teeth and roots) reconstruction. This includes placement of dental implants when teeth are missing. Beyond Faces has pioneered the combined use of dental implants, distraction osteogenesis, and bone morphogenetic proteins.

6. Orthognathic surgery is a discipline that combines orthodontics and maxillofacial surgery. Beyond Faces developed several techniques to achieve the best result from orthognathic surgery. Many cleft palate and craniofacial patients develop major discrepancies between the sizes of the upper and lower jaws. This results in problems from an aesthetic and functional standpoint. Beyond Faces follows patients from birth to facial maturity and adolescence.