Macrostomia is a birth defect of the skin and muscle of the mouth that affects one in every 80,000 births. Macrostomia is an abnormal wideness of the mouth and children born with this defect are usually referred to as babies with mask face.
Macrostomia is characterized by a transverse facial cleft, which becomes very obvious when the child is laughing or crying; In fact, the absence of the muscle becomes noticeable when the lips are stretched. Macrostomia not only affects the shape of the face but also the child’s ability to speak and eat.
How is macrostomia treated?
Macrostomia can be corrected through surgery, after which most children recover and gain normal appearance and enjoy normal speech abilities. The surgery is recommended at the age of three to five months, to ensure optimized results and to give the baby a normal childhood the earliest.
How is it done?
The macrostomia repair surgery is usually done under general anesthesia and varies in time according to the complexity of the patient’s condition. When performing this surgery, three repair levels are taken into consideration: the mucous membrane, muscles and skin of the mouth. The mucous membrane is closed with absorbable sutures and attached to the subjacent muscle or skin. Once done, the cleft mouth muscles are sutured together.
Incisions are then made on both sides of the cleft, lateral to the nasolabial fold to create small skin flaps in order to stitch the skin layers together. These flaps are then repositioned to cover the affected area and the incisions closed with fine stitches.
How long is the recovery?
After surgery it is very important to protect the surgery site and stitches. Therefore, the child’s feeding, posture and activities should be adapted to the recovery process. Make sure to discuss all your concerns regarding how to care for your child after surgery and what to expect during the recovery period.
Disclaimer: The info presented on this page is indicative and for generic use only. Each patient’s case is unique and will be studied by Dr. Chadi Murr for full assessment.