Finally the last operation – cleft lip: the Styrian woman can finally breathe freely

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Marie-Kristin Geschl was born with a cleft lip. 17 years later she underwent her last surgery. Doctors in Graz ensure that more and more patients can lead a good life.

“I wasn’t always as confident as I am now.” It’s hard to believe when you look at Marie-Kristin Geschl. Nor that she was born 17 years ago with a facial defect: her lips were split. She is one of about 150 children across Austria who suffer this fate each year.

Possible reasons: “If there have been cases in the family, the chances are higher, but several other factors could be responsible as well,” says her attending facial surgeon Michael Schwaiger. In most cases, facial deformity is detected in utero using ultrasound.

Most of those affected, such as Marie-Kristin, undergo multiple operations when they are children. However, since growth comes with aging, further surgeries are necessary in some cases. Many of those affected complain of bad breath, difficulty eating or talking.

Marie-Kristin had surgery on her nose a few weeks ago, now she can breathe well at night again, and the boy is also happy with the appearance. “It would have bothered me if I hadn’t had the surgery. I feel much more comfortable now.”

Few expertise centers in Austria
That is also Schwaiger’s goal: “I want to improve the quality of life of my patients.” That is why he has been focusing for several years at the LKH Graz on exactly such follow-up interventions in children with a cleft lip, jaw or palate. In Austria, here in Graz is one of the few centers of expertise in this field. The facial surgeon built up his expertise in London.

“Although demand has increased recently, many parents still don’t know that there are good opportunities beyond the first years of life.” It is important that the doctor makes this known. So that more children can do as well as Marie-Kristin again: “No one should feel bad,” says the 17-year-old, who wants to encourage others: “It’s normal, and luckily with today’s medicines you can do everything again right.”

Source: Krone

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