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Cleft Lip

Cleft lip is one of the most common congenital birth defects in the United States. Cleft lip occurs when the lip fails to grow properly when a baby is in utero. Though the exact causes are unclear, they may be the result of genetic or environmental factors.

At his Northern Mississippi plastic surgery practice, Dr. Dan Shell routinely performs reconstructive surgery on people with cleft lip. Through specialized techniques, Dr. Shell is able to improve the patient’s quality of life and overall aesthetic appearance dramatically.

Who Is the Right Candidate for Cleft Lip Repair?

Almost anyone with a cleft lip may be considered for reconstructive surgery. If left untreated, children may experience one or more of the following problems:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Delays in speech development
  • Poor eating habits due to difficulty eating
  • Problems breastfeeding

Cleft lip may also increase the risk of colds, cavities and ear infections. During the consultation process with Dr. Shell, he will be able to determine if and when cleft lip repair is right for your son or daughter.


There are numerous factors to consider before committing to any surgical procedure. Below is a list of frequently asked questions associated with cleft lip repair:

What happens during cleft lip repair?

Cleft lip repair are typically performed under general anesthesia and may take one to three hours to complete. Cleft lip repair will require incisions made on each side of the lip. The tissue from both sides will then be drawn together and secured with sutures.

What is the recovery process like?

Following surgery, Dr. Shell will provide you with specific aftercare and hygiene instructions. It is likely that the mouth area will be swollen for several days. Sutures will be removed within a week. Children should be restricted from toys that may cause unintentional injury to the treated area for several weeks.

How old do patients have to be before cleft lip repair?

The timing of cleft repairs depends on your child’s individual circumstances, but early intervention is essential for his or her health and well-being. For cleft lip repair, children can be as young as three months of age. Though less common, adults can also undergo cleft lip repair.

Are there any risks associated with cleft lip repair?

As with any surgical procedure, cleft lip reconstruction does present a degree of risk. Prior to surgery, Dr. Shell will be available to discuss all potential risks in depth. Some of the potential risks may include adverse reactions to anesthesia, infection or breathing problems.

Why should I choose Dr. Shell for cleft lip repair?

During your consultation, Dr. Shell will listen carefully to your concerns, ensuring that all treatments are customized to meet your goals. He uses the latest technology in a comfortable and confidential setting. Dr. Shell is certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery. He is also a member of The American Society of Plastic Surgeons and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

Schedule Your Consultation

Dr. Dan Shell is a board certified plastic surgeon with years of experience performing cleft lip repair. If you are considering cleft lip repair, he would be happy to sit down with you and explain the process in detail. His practice serves Northern Mississippi. Contact our plastic surgery office in Oxford, MS by calling 662-236-6465 to set up a consultation today.

3D Photographic Simulation Brings a New Dimension to Plastic Surgery at Shell Plastic Surgery.

Vectra 3D imaging has revolutionized the way plastic surgeons perform a consultation. Moving beyond traditional photography to a 3-dimensional view allows you and your surgeon to get an extremely accurate picture of the expected results that can be achieved. With this technology, we can see the expected results from multiple angles, as if you were looking at them in person or in the mirror.

Vectra Imaging