Cleft lip and palate is among the most common congenital conditions, affecting 1 in 700 people—that’s one baby every two hours in the United States. Cleft and craniofacial conditions can affect children physically, functionally and emotionally for their entire childhood into adult years. And not all children have access to today’s standard of care, even within the U.S.
Research advances clinical and surgical practices and establishes the best standards of care. Through funded research studies, Duke examines areas such as surgical and pre-surgical outcomes (for example, nasoalveolar molding or NAM), children’s feelings about their appearance and self-esteem, and families’ overall satisfaction with outcomes.
Duke has TWO robust labs dedicated to understanding, advancing and standardizing the clinical and surgical practice of cleft and craniofacial care. In addition, Duke is the center of a first-of-its-kind 15-year multi-site observational study analyzing the clinical and psychosocial outcomes related to children with cleft lip and/or palate.
With consent, research is integrated into every day clinical care at Duke. Data is tracked, new collection tools are being developed and networks are being established between different centers to work collaboratively and learn from each other. Together, we hope to optimize cleft care for all people and standardize it across all institutions.