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WHAT IS THE CLEFT LIFT PROCEDURE?

  • The procedure involves the removal of scarred or pitted midline skin and infected tissue from one side of the natal cleft. Skin and fat on the opposite side of the cleft is freed from the underlying tissue out past the edge of the natal cleft and shifted to the other side. Sometimes this involves freeing up the covering of the buttock muscles.

  • It was introduced by Dr. John Bascom who trained Dr. Wadie.

  • The deeper tissues of the now exposed buttocks cheeks are drawn and sewn together to ‘shallow the valley’ and to re-contour the cleft. The flap is then closed over the ‘shallowed’ valley and sutured to the side outside the cleft.

  • The new natal cleft is less deep and smoothly transitions down toward the anus.

  • Without the valley and divots, debris and hairs can’t collect. The resulting wound is off to the side of the midline so it is exposed to air and can heal well.

  • The procedure takes about 1 hour.

  • It is performed under general anesthesia.

  • The wound is completely closed and no packing is required. All the sutures are absorbable under the skin.

  • A temporary drain is usually placed under the flap of skin to prevent the accumulation of fluid and is generally removed in 4-5 days.

  • The wound will be covered by Steri-strips and a gauze dressing.

  • Most patients experience minimal discomfort requiring only over the counter pain medications.

  • Patients go home the same day and are allowed to return to regular activity right away after surgery.

 

 Additional Benefits of the Cleft Lift Procedure:

  •  After a cleft lift procedure, patients will have a thin scar, can wear bathing suits without embarrassment, and sit without pain.

  • The cleft lift removes only the scarred skin and underlying infected tissue and hair, does not remove deep tissue, and puts the incision sufficiently to the side so that it can heal well.

  • The cleft lift procedure is not disfiguring. Most patients find the resulting scar cosmetically acceptable.

  • In addition, the cleft lift procedure has the lowest recurrence rate among other flap procedures. Recurrence is quoted between 1 and 3%.

  • Pain is minimal and hence the need for narcotic use is too.

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