This week I figured I'd give you some pictures.
A lot of times, what people envision in their heads when they think of cleft just isn't the reality, especially in Little Miss Sunshine's case. So I thought I'd post some before and after pictures so you can get an idea of what her cleft palate actually LOOKED like.
Miss Sunshine's formal diagnosis is an Isolated Cleft Soft Palate with Bifid Uvula (meaning her uvula was split as well). To date, we are not aware of any possible genetic contributions, as we are waiting on insurance to kick in so we can have genetic testing done to eliminate any disorders, but she does not have any markers of any of the more common disorders associated with cleft, so our cleft team believes she simply has the isolated cleft. I will go into more detail about what the different clefts are and even touch on some of the possible disorders that can be associated on a later blog. For now, we'll concentrate on the ICSP that she has.
Here is what her palate looked like before surgery: (Bear with me - it's darn near impossible to get a clear picture of the inside of an infants mouth, much less the roof of their mouth... so these aren't the highest quality, I know)
It's kind of hard to see from these pictures, but you could see straight into her nasal cavities (which always made for fun eating time)
And this is what her palate looked like one week post op...
Again, sorry for the quality. When you look at these pictures, you can see where they cut on the sides of the roof of her mouth to release the tension in order to sew the cleft together. There is a lot more involved in cleft palate repair, including recreating the nasal lining, rearranging the musculature of the roof of the mouth, as well as the closing of the roof of the mouth. I'm working on some diagrams, etc, to help explain all of these and will post it on a future blog.
For now, I hope these pictures were able to make it a little bit more clear to you what a cleft soft palate looks like and what we have been through with our Little Miss Sunshine...