July is National Clef and Craniofacial Awareness and Prevention Month.
Thousands of people in the U.S., from babies to adults, are affected by cleft or craniofacial conditions each year.
Dr. Burke, with El Paso Children’s Hospital, has been helping local children who have cleft deformities with a “distraction” procedure for six years. This type of procedure is only done in 20 to 25 centers in the region.
“There just aren’t very many people who do it,” said Dr. Burke.
It’s a long process where children end up with eight to 16 surgeries.
Children Melero’s age can tolerate stretching, or movement, of about one millimeters a day. Melero needed her bone to move about 14-18 millimeters, so it’s been a lengthy process for Melero and her family.
She also hasn’t been able to eat sold food during her two to three weeks of active treatment.
Through it all, young Melero has remained positive, “I really like this treatment. It’s helping me look different and I’m really happy how the doctors are helping me.”