Special Correspondent

The foundation has so far conducted more than 250 surgeries and will continue the acitivity.

VISAKHAPATNAM: The Seven Hills Foundation, a local voluntary organisation, is conducting free cleft-lip and palate surgeries and rehabilitation service for the poor and needy.

The foundation's aim is to eradicate the prevalence of cleft-lip and cleft palate through patient education, evaluation and high quality surgical service. Cleft lip or palate would result in speech defect, difficulty in breathing, a disturbed face and psycho-social stigma.

The programme was being conducted with the help of Seven Hills Hospitals, said the foundation's general manager (operations) R. Suryanarayana Rao.

The foundation had so far conducted more than 250 surgeries and would continue the surgeries for the sake of poor children of Andhra Pradesh who otherwise would not have been able to meet the cost of surgeries.

The foundation had also come to an understanding with an international organisation, Smile Train, which was supporting several corrective surgeries and rehabilitation programmes in several countries.

Free surgeries with absolutely no cost to the patient would be performed at the Seven Hills Hospital. The patients should be in the three months to 40 years age group.

As per guidelines

Cleft lip, suspected to occur due to dietary deficiency, was predominantly seen in the poor, according to project director and consultant plastic surgeon Anjali Saple.

The surgeries were being conducted in accordance with the guidelines outlined in the safety and quality improvement protocols for reconstructive surgeries.

She explained that the cleft-lip surgeries were of the following types: primary cleft lip surgeries were the primary lip and nose unilateral repair, primary lip/nose bilateral repair, primary cleft palate repair, fistula repair, repair of uvula breakdown and small fistulas of soft palate.

Secondary cleft palate repairs included repair of lip and or nose revision, scar revisions, alar base excision, correction of vermillion deformity, rhinoplastry and tip rhinoplastry.

At least 80 per cent of these surgeries were primary repairs. Experts were of the opinion that treatment for a child with cleft lip should start before he or she turned 18.

Medical superintendent of Seven Hills Hospital M. Dinakar is the coordinator of the programme between the Seven Hills Foundation, the Seven Hills Hospital and the Smile Train.