Cleft Lip

Before & After Photos

Dr. Timothy Mickel, is medical director of Monroe’s Children’s Special Health Services, where he performs cleft lip and palate procedures at no charge.

It was during Mickel’s residency at Children’s Hospital in Dallas, Texas, that he learned the craft of cleft lip and palate surgery under the guidance of Dr. Steve Byrd, “one of the most renowned cleft surgeons in the world,” according to Mickel. Shortly thereafter, he traveled several times with colleagues to Belize and the Dominican Republic where he performed cleft lip and palate repairs for underserved children.

The challenge is treating the babies afflicted with cleft lip and palate before the medical condition affects the child’s speech, Mickel says. A cleft lip is either a small notch in the lip or a complete split in the lip that spreads all the way to the base of the nose. Usually the child’s cleft lip is treated between 6 and 12 weeks of age. A cleft palate can occur on one or both sides of the roof of the mouth and may go the full length of the palate. Treating the child’s cleft palate before three years of age ensures the child will experience normal speech.


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