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Cleft Lip & Palate

Since 1969, the Cleft Lip/Palate Clinic, a component of Gundersen Health System's Learning & Developmental Diagnostic Center, has been providing multispecialty clinical service for patients with cleft palate and/or lip and other significant maxillofacial defects.

The Cleft Lip/Palate Clinic is one of four centers in the state of Wisconsin.

Services are coordinated by the Departments of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Plastic Surgery and Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Additional participants come from the Departments of Prosthodontics, Speech Pathology, Pediatrics, Pediatric Dentistry, Audiology, Orthodontics and Social Services.

Clinic Day

On the Cleft Lip/Palate Clinic Day, each patient is evaluated by all members of the team assigned to the case. It may be necessary to schedule additional time at a later date for further evaluation. This decision is made by the individual specialists following the scheduled clinic appointment.

Evaluation and treatment planning: After a patient has been referred, the Patient Care Coordinator handles all aspects of case processing and scheduling. Patients are examined independently by each staff clinician, followed by a team meeting in which each staff member discusses his or her findings. The results are compiled and a logical treatment program, with scheduled follow-up, is developed. A summary report of findings and recommendations is sent to the patient, or others responsible, for consideration and implementation.

Follow-up: Follow-up appointments are arranged through the Patient Care Coordinator. The Coordinator is also available to answer questions which may arise after the patient has left the clinic.

Financing patient costs: The service is provided on a fee basis. A social worker is available for each patient or family for financial consultation. Options exist for financial reimbursement for evaluation and will be handled on an individual basis.

Location, facilities, personnel and resources: Gundersen and Gundersen Lutheran Medical Foundation provide the staff and resources for the Cleft Lip/Palate Clinic. The facilities provide a team of health practitioners who have pooled their resources in pursuit of excellence in patient care, medical education and research. Each medical staff member brings to the group the benefit of his or her training and experience. The patient has access to the specialist needed to assess, diagnose and treat a particular problem without leaving Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center.

Multidisciplinary team: Depending upon each patient’s needs, the following specialists may be involved in evaluation:

  • Audiology
  • Pedodontics
  • Genetics
  • Plastic Surgery
  • Orthodontics
  • Social Services
  • Pediatrics
  • Speech Pathology
  • Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery
  • Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery

Supportive team staff

  • Credit Counseling
  • Educational Liaison
  • Neurology
  • Neuropsychology
  • Nutrition
  • Patient Education
  • Pediatric Surgery
  • Psychiatry

Referral procedure

Who can refer?

  • Parents
  • Physicians
  • Dentists
  • Educators
  • County or state agencies
  • Other agencies

Appointments can be made in person, by telephone or letter by contacting:

Deborah Baker, LPN
Cleft Lip/Palate Clinic
Gundersen Lutheran Plastic Surgery Center
1900 South Avenue
La Crosse, WI 54601-5467

(608) 775-2376 or (800) 362-9567, ext. 52376

what to expect

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