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An Important Step in Cleft Palate Treatment

Boy showing a monolateral cleft lip repaired
Dr. Michael Stosich, a Grayslake orthodontist, has extensive experience helping children born with cleft lip and palate, through a process called Nasoalveolar Molding (NAM.) Because of his experience in this pre-surgical treatment, Dr. Stosich’s patients have outstanding results.

What is Nasoalveolar Molding?

Nasoalveolar Molding is a pre-surgical treatment for patients born with cleft lip and palate.

  • It uses a customized orthodontic appliance to provide better results for cleft surgeries.
  • The process reshapes the lips, bones and nostrils to lessen the severity of the cleft before surgery.
  • Surgery is performed once molding is completed.
  • Lessens the need for multiple surgeries in patients with large clefts.
  • Orthodontists and surgeons work together to provide optimal results.

In short, NAM has revolutionized cleft repair.

How does NAM work?

The NAM process works in the hands of a skilled Craniofacial Orthodontist who uses orthopedic techniques to mold the nose and palate into a more anatomic shape prior to surgery.

    1. Dr. Stosich will fit the baby for a custom-made orthopedic appliance, similar to an orthodontic retainer, in the first few weeks following birth.
    2. The device causes no pain, and the baby will very quickly get used to it. The molding plate will be worn 24 hours a day, seven days a week, even while feeding. Parents can clean it as needed.
    3. The plate gently directs the growth of the tissues. After a week of wearing it, the orthodontist will adjust the shape to further guide the tissue as they grow, and appointments for additional adjustments will occur weekly.
    4. Once the cleft gap in the gums is small enough, Dr. Stosich will then turn his attention to the deformed nostril. A post will be attached to the molding plate and inserted into the nostril. The post will then be slowly adjust to lift the nose and open up the nostril.

 

Through this process with Dr. Stosich, which lasts between 3-5 months, the child will become ready for surgery. The nose will be lifted and narrowed, the gap in the gums will be smaller, and the lips will be closer together. This procedure improves the surgeon’s results, and often eliminates the need for an additional surgery to revise the lip and reconstruct the nose.

In conjunction with talented surgeons, to improve the quality of life for babies born with cleft lip and palate, Dr. Stosich has the ability to transform people’s lives. NAM is a wonderful procedure that offers extraordinary results.

AUTHOR: Michael Stosich

Michael S. Stosich, DMD, MS, MS, is a specialist orthodontist for children and adults with subspecialty expertise in robotically assisted orthodontics. Dr. Stosich serves as the orthodontic director at the University of Chicago's cleft lip and palate clinic and craniofacial anomalies clinic, which treats complex pediatric craniofacial anomalies.