A cleft nose is a form of a facial cleft or malformation of part of the face. This is a rare congenital abnormality and usually occurs with the presence of other facial abnormalities such as a cleft lip treatment or cleft palate treatment.

The cause of facial clefts is unclear but it is felt that intake of folic acid when attempting to become pregnant and during pregnancy may contribute to a lower risk of a child being born with one of these facial abnormalities.

There are multiple theories as to the cause of a cleft nose including:

  • It is possible nose clefts are caused by a disorder in the migration of neural crest cells, which are specialized cells in the early stages of embryonic development.
  • Nose clefts may be caused by failure of the fusion process with inward growth of the mesoderm, the middle layer of an embryo, in early development.
  • A third theory is that genetics play a part in the development of facial clefts.
  • It is also felt that nose clefts may have an origin in the amniotic bands, which may interfere with normal embryonic development by encircling and constricting growth of parts of the baby’s body.
  • Cleft noses may have an origin from a combination of these factors.

The main treatment goal of a cleft nose surgery abnormality is to reconstruct the nose to ensure functionality as well as obtain a more aesthetically acceptable appearance.

This can be accomplished by reconstructing the nasal dorsum (bridge of the nose) with the use of a graft. Ala (wing of the nose) reconstruction often necessitates the insertion of a cartilage graft commonly harvested from the ear. When treatment is performed at an early age, a second operation may be necessary.

Depending on the extent of the deformity, a number of different procedures may initially be required to assist the child’s breathing and improve appearance as well as follow up surgical treatments as the child grows and the nose develops.

Dr. Yael Halaas is a Facial Plastic Surgeon and a member of the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons as well as the American Board of Otolaryngology, which specializes in ear, nose, and throat conditions and procedures.

Located in New York City and licensed to practice in New York and New Jersey, Dr. Halaas is acknowledged as one of the top 10 surgeons in her field in New York City. Her focus is on patient comfort and effective and satisfying outcomes. Her experience and expertise enable her to respond well to the needs of her patients and they describe her as a kind and caring person.

If you were born with a facial deformity such as a cleft nose, please contact Dr. Halaas for a consultation. She will examine the extent of the deformity, determine the best possible course of action and utilize state-of-the-art techniques to restore functionality and create a more pleasing appearance to the nose.

Written by Dr. Halaas

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