- 1 in 38 New York babies is born with a congenital anomaly
- Nationally, of the 120,000 children born annually with congenital anomalies, approximately 40,000 require reconstructive surgery
- Although surgeons are able to correct many of these problems, some insurance companies deny or excessively delay access to care by labeling the procedures not medically necessary–“cosmetic,” or “non-functional” in nature
- Although carriers may provide coverage for initial procedures, they may resist coverage of the later stage procedures by claiming they are cosmetic and/or not medically necessary
Surgery to repair an anomaly is intended to help a child obtain the ability to function and grow normally.
Reconstructive Surgeries to Repair Congenital Anomalies
According to the New York State Department of Health’s Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology, one in 38 newborns in New York State are born with a congenital anomaly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) characterizes birth anomalies as “common, costly, and critical.” Of the 120,000 children born annually with birth anomalies, approximately 40,000 require reconstructive surgery.
Surgery to repair an anomaly – which is highly individualized – is intended to help a child obtain the ability to function and grow normally. Plastic surgeons play a pivotal role in the medical team required to repair many of congenital anomalies.
Cleft Lip and Palate Repair
Cleft lip and cleft palate are among the most common birth anomalies affecting children in North America and worldwide. The incomplete formation of the upper lip (cleft lip) or roof of the mouth (cleft palate) can occur individually, or both may occur together. The conditions can vary in severity and may involve one or both sides of the mouth.
Plastic surgeons play an important role in the reconstruction of the lip and/or palate to restore function and appearance. Surgery to repair a cleft of the lip or palate is highly individualized. Surgery is intended to close the cleft, but also to help a child’s ability to function and grow normally. Cleft lip repair, also called cheiloplasty, includes reconstruction of the lip to create a more normal appearance, namely: Closure of the cleft resulting in a scar located within or near the typical features of the upper lip; Formation of a cupid’s bow (the curves along the center of the upper lip); Establishing adequate distance between the upper lip and nose.
Clefts of the upper lip typically affect the shape of the nose and additional procedures may be recommended to restore nasal symmetry and nostril shape and/or straighten and create adequate length for the columella (the tissue that separates the nostrils)
Because the palate creates the ﬂoor of the nasal cavity and is responsible for allowing normal speech, considerations in repairing a cleft palate include:
- Separating the mouth and nasal tissues by closing the cleft along its length
- Re-establishing soft palate muscle function to promote normal speech
- Recreating normal relation of the soft palate to the auditory canal and Eustachian tube to allow for normal hearing
- Promoting as much as possible the normal growth and development of the upper jaw and teeth
- Repairing, when appropriate, any anomalies in the gumline to allow for permanent tooth eruption
NYS Dept. of Health Statistics on Congenital Anomalies
According to the New York State Department of Health’s Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology, 1 in 38 children are born with a congenital anomaly. Below are the top five.
|Defect||Cases Per Births Annual|
|Atrial Septal Defect||11,316|
|Obstructive Genitourinary Defect||9,276|
|Cleft Palate/Cleft Lip||2,751|
2017 National Plastic Surgery Statistics
ASPS Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon Data Only
|Plastic Surgery Procedure||2017||Change 2017 v. 2016|
|Birth defect (congenital deformities)||24,428||5%|
|Cleft lip and palate||12,653||6%|
Other Congenital Anomalies
Plastic surgeons restore function and appearance for a host of other congenital anomalies, including but not limited to:
- Central Ray Deficiency/ Cleft hand
- Congenital blepharophimosis
- Congenital nasal pyriform aperture stenosis
- Congenital proximal radioulnar synostosis
- Congenital breast reconstruction
- Constriction ring syndrome
- Craniofacial microsomia
- Duplicated thumbs
- Ear deformations or malformations
- Maxillofacial dysplasia
- Maxillofacial dysplasia
- Möbius syndrome
- Orbital dysplasia
- Poland syndrome
- Radial longitudinal deficiency/ Radial club hand
- Tuberous breast deformity
- Ulnar Longitudinal Deficiency