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Cleft lip and cleft palate are among the most common congenital abnormalities, and surgery to repair a cleft in New York City can effectively address these malformations. Clefts can result in difficulties with eating, speaking, hearing, and even breathing. Cleft repair surgery can improve a person’s overall quality of life.

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What Is Cleft Surgery?

Cleft surgeries can be performed to repair a cleft lip or palate, along with cleft-related malformations in the nose and the upper jaw.

A cleft lip or cleft palate is caused by the inability of the tissues to completely fuse together during development in the womb. A cleft lip can be unilateral or bilateral, which means it can be on one side or both sides of the lip. A cleft palate occurs at the roof of the mouth, leaving a hole between the mouth and the nose.

Types of cleft procedures include cleft lip surgery, cleft palate surgery, cleft rhinoplasty, and cleft jaw surgery. Alveolar bone grafts can be used to address the gap between the teeth in the upper jaw, and a pharyngoplasty can correct an issue called velopharyngeal incompetency, or VPI.

Am I an Ideal Candidate?

Most patients with a cleft lip or palate are ideal for cleft surgery. Patients should be in good overall health without any conditions that can hinder healing.

Newborns ages 3 to 6 months old are good candidates for cleft lip repair, and surgery to repair a cleft palate can follow once the child is 9 to 18 months old. To repair a cleft in the gums, the child has to be about 8 or 9 years old.

The Consultation for Cleft Surgery

The consultation for cleft surgery involves a physical examination of the facial areas affected by the cleft. The patient’s medical history will be reviewed. There will be a discussion about allergies, pre-existing conditions, immunizations, any recent surgeries, and current medications, including vitamins and herbal supplements.

A highly individualized approach will be developed to specifically address the cleft condition of the patient. This approach will be discussed in great detail, including the recovery and aftercare process.

The decision to meet with a plastic surgeon for a consultation regarding improvements to your appearance is very personal. With so much information on the internet and stories in the media, the process can be anxiety provoking for some. Dr. James P Bradley understands this and wants to alleviate your anxiety. He believes in a team approach. Along with him and his staff, you are an important part of the team.

Dr. James P Bradley is a double board-certified plastic surgery, considered an expert in Cosmetic Surgery. He has impacted individuals with his personal care and natural-looking results. We welcome you to meet Dr. Bradley and his friendly staff.

  • Cutting-edge technology
  • Commitment to patient satisfaction
  • Experience with thousands of procedures

Working with children

Challenging world for kids

  • Social networking
  • Pressure to fit in

Devoted my life

  • Helping children
  • Find it incredibly rewarding

The Procedure

A general anesthetic is used for cleft surgery. This eliminates any chance of pain or discomfort during the surgery by inducing a temporary unconscious state. Incisions will be created, and then the necessary changes will be made. If grafts are required, they will be harvested, shaped, and inserted. Finally, stitches will be used to close incisions.

Cleft Surgery Recovery

Following cleft surgery, post-surgery care instructions are given, as well as dietary restrictions. A soft or liquid diet is recommended for several days. Avoid giving children bottles, pacifiers, straws, and other utensils for the first few days.

Swelling and pain may continue for a few weeks and can be managed with prescribed medications. Post-surgical marks may remain, especially after cleft lip surgery, but they can fade and become less noticeable over time.

Get in Touch

Restore your child’s quality of life with cleft surgery in New York City. Schedule your consultation with Dr. Bradley today to find out more about your options.


When is cleft surgery performed?

Cleft lip surgery is typically performed around 3 to 6 months of age, while cleft palate surgery is usually performed between 9 to 12 months of age.

What causes cleft lip and palate?

Cleft lip and palate are caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors that affect facial development during pregnancy.

How long does cleft surgery take?

Cleft lip surgery usually takes about 1 to 2 hours, while cleft palate surgery typically takes around 2 to 3 hours.

Is cleft surgery covered by insurance?

Most health insurance plans cover cleft lip and palate surgery as it’s considered medically necessary.

How is recovery after cleft surgery?

Recovery varies but generally involves a week or two of rest, with some swelling and discomfort. Specific care instructions will be provided by the surgeon.

Can cleft surgery be performed in adulthood?

Yes, cleft surgery can be performed in adulthood, especially for functional or cosmetic improvements.

How can I prepare my child for cleft surgery?

Preparing a child for cleft surgery involves explaining the procedure in an age-appropriate manner, ensuring they are healthy, and following the surgeon’s pre-surgical instructions.

Read Our Patient Stories


“I gave Dr. Bradley and his office 5 Stars because of my great experience. They have treated me like family. I entrusted him with taking care of me. He took great care. I have already recommended my sister to get her nose done by him.

Super Orion B.

“Excellent doctor who really cares and listened to my concerns. He was accommodating and his office staff was great in getting my insurance to authorize my procedures.


“The results of my procedure exceeded my expectations. I was very pleased with the outcome. Dr. Bradley is extremely skilled and professional. I recommend him to all of my family and friends.

K Osborne