Cleft Lip and Palate


    Cleft lip or cleft palate is a split or opening in the lip or roof of the mouth. It is usually the result of a birth defect and leads to difficulty eating and speaking. Surgery can repair this condition.

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    A long-standing cooperative effort between the Institute for Plastic Surgery and the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery provides comprehensive cleft and craniofacial care to children born with facial differences.  We are able to provide a wide range of same day services for a complete evaluation and testing in a single visit.


    Dr. Michael Neumeister and Dr. Matthew Johnson are both surgeons whoe provide excellence in cleft care. Dr. Stacie Gregory provides pediatric otolaryngology care. Dr. Jason Aleman and a local oral surgery group also care for patients.

    Jennifer Pollock provides Speech-Language Pathology services for speech and feeding. She works with younger patients on feeding strategies; and all of our older patients regarding speech assessments and therapy.

    Our pediatric neurosurgeon, Dr. Leslie Acakpo-Satchivi, is available for consultation in patients with craniosynostosis and other craniofacial conditions. Dr. Satchivi and Dr. Johnson are able to provide current options in craniofacial treatment from endoscopic, distraction osteogenesis, limited cranial vault reconstruction, and complete cranial vault reconstruction. Through a multidisciplinary approach, they provide patient-specific treatment.

    Our clinical coordinator serves as a resource in helping patients navigate care. Call 217-545-8000 and ask for the Cleft and Craniofacial Clinic

    Cleft Lip and Palate Repair

    Cleft lip (cheiloschisis) and cleft palate (palatoschisis) are among the most common birth defects affecting children in North America.

    The incomplete formation of the upper lip (cleft lip) or roof of the mouth (cleft palate) can occur individually, or both defects may occur together. The conditions can vary in severity and may involve one or both sides of the face.

    A cleft, or separation of the upper lip and/or the roof of the mouth, occurs very early in the development of your unborn child. During fetal development, specific components of the upper lip and roof of the mouth fail to form normally. Cleft lip and cleft palate repair is a type of plastic surgery to correct this abnormal development to restore function and provide a more normal appearance.

    Most clefts can be repaired through specialized plastic surgery techniques, improving your child’s ability to eat, speak, hear and breathe, and restoring a more normal appearance and function.

    A team of specialists can help

    Early intervention by a team of specialists to evaluate your child is essential in cleft lip and/or cleft palate repair. The team can work together to define a course of treatment, including surgical repair of the cleft, speech rehabilitation and dental restoration. These specialists may include a:

    • Plastic surgeon
    • Pediatrician
    • Pediatric dentist
    • Otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat specialist)
    • Auditory or hearing specialist
    • Speech pathologist
    • Genetic counselor
    • Social worker

    Our providers


    Timothy Daugherty, MD

    Plastic Surgeon Plastic Surgery
    747 N. Rutledge Street 3rd Floor Springfield, IL 62702

    Stacie Gregory, MD

    Pediatric Otolaryngology (ENT) Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery, Virtual care through telehealth
    720 N. Bond Street Springfield , IL 62702

    Matthew Johnson, MD

    Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ENT) Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery, Virtual care through telehealth
    720 N. Bond Street Springfield , IL 62702

    Michael Neumeister, MD

    Department of Surgery Chair Plastic Surgery
    747 N. Rutledge Street 3rd Floor Springfield, IL 62702

    Why SIU

    Continually learning

    With a focus on continual improvement, our doctors take the time to research, study and innovate to provide the latest treatments for our patients.

    Patient-first experience

    Our care ranges from primary care physicians to specialists and sub-specialists who have advanced training. We're here for you when you need us.

    Breakthrough tech

    Continually teaching the next generation of doctors, our physicians use the latest developments in procedures and technologies for our patients.