Cleft Lip and Palate Team

Why Choose Us

The NHRMC Cleft Lip and Palate Team has been recognized for meeting the high standards required for referral from the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association and the Cleft Palate Foundation.

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If your child has a cleft lip and/or palate, you can find the long-term, comprehensive resources you will need at New Hanover Regional Medical Center.  Our Cleft Lip and Palate Team's mission is to provide exceptional care for patients and their families with a focus on care coordination, communication and long-term patient outcomes – from birth to adulthood. 

Your child will need treatment at several stages of growth and will likely need related medical and dental care into adulthood. Your child may also need to see specialists to help with speech, nutrition, or psychology. With your input, the NHRMC Cleft Lip and Palate Team will create and manage your child’s care plan to make sure your child gets all the help she needs. 

Depending on your child’s specific needs, you may receive help from members of the team who include:

Medical Director: Michael Jaskolka, DDS, MD, FACS

Dr. Jaskolka strives to ensure that all patient and family needs are identified early and subsequently addressed by our specialists. Prior to your first team appointment, you and your child will have an in-depth consultation with Dr. Jaskolka.

Clinical Coordinator:  Alana McKeever, RN 

Alana is the key to our patient and family centered approach. She coordinates team visits, provides education, and communicates the care plan with patients, families and other providers (pediatrician, dentist, therapists).

Pediatric Dentistry: Douglas Fry, DDS, and Adam Weinberg, DDS

Children with cleft lip or palate often have complex dental needs. Dr. Fry and Dr. Weinberg bring their wealth of pediatric experience to the team to help your child through examinations as well as preventative, restorative and prosthetic treatments as needed.

Nutrition: Sara Strickland, RD, CSP, LDN 

If your baby has trouble gaining weight, Sara is available to help your baby get the nutrition needed to grow and thrive.

Feeding:

If your baby has trouble feeding, the Coastal Children’s Services Pediatric Feeding Team works with the Cleft Lip and Palate Team to help your baby overcome any feeding challenges.

Genetic Counseling: Jeannice Lesko, MS, CGC
Jeannice can help answer questions about how genes play a role in cleft lip and palate and whether you should be concerned about future children carrying similar genes. She will review your family history and help decide if a referral to a pediatric medical geneticist is indicated.

Orthodontics: Gregory Richardson, DDS, MS
Children with cleft lip or palate can have problems with growth or alignment of the upper teeth and jaw. Your child may require orthodontic treatment in childhood and again in early adulthood.  Dr. Richardson guides this area of evaluation and treatment.

Otolaryngology (Ears, Nose, Throat Surgery): George Brinson, MD, and Michael Parker, MD, FACS

Children with cleft palate are more prone to ear infections and hearing problems.  Often we will place ear tubes at the time of cleft palate surgery. In addition, Dr. Brinson and Dr. Parker will monitor for tonsil, sinus or breathing issues.

Developmental Psychology: Donna Vaught, Ph.D.

Donna provides evaluation and testing to help identify early motor, cognitive and language delays.  She may work with your family to help you through any challenges.

Social Work: Amber Clifford, MSW

Amber can help provide emotional counseling and family support. She can also help identify other helpful resources in your community for your child's care. 

Speech and Language Pathology: Jamie Perry, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Our speech and language pathologist will help your child with developing feeding, speech and language skills through evaluation, education and therapy.  Dr. Perry will also work with your child’s community or school speech and language pathologist to help support their therapy treatment.  In addition, Dr. Perry and her team of graduate students are involved in research that is helping to direct the optimal surgical treatment of cleft-related speech disorders.

Surgery: Michael Jaskolka, DDS, MD, FACS, and William J. Curtis, DMD, MD

Dr. Jaskolka and Dr. Curtis work together to plan and perform surgery to restore form and function for your child. Surgery is timed according to each child’s growth and development to provide the best results. A patient with a cleft lip and palate may require the following interventions:

 Pre-natal 
Ultrasound detection* and consultation
 Pre-surgery 
 Lip and nasal molding
 3-4 months    
 Cleft lip and nose repair
 8-12 months
 Cleft palate repair (possible placement of ear tubes)
 4-6 years   
 Surgery to improve speech as needed
 6-9 years    
 Bone grafting of the upper jaw
 4-18 years   
 Corrective jaw surgery
14-18 years  
 Cleft lip and nose (rhinoplasty) revision as needed

*Isolated cleft palate is rarely identified by ultrasound.

Pediatric Anesthesia: Jenna Black, MD, Chris Dixon, DO, Nathaniel Nonoy, MD, Steven Wells, MD

The Pediatric Anesthesia team provides support for cleft and craniofacial patients who require special care.

Neurosurgery: J. Alex Thomas, MD

Dr. Thomas consults to help treat patients with craniofacial conditions.

Pediatric Ophthalmology: David Johnson, MD, Ph.D.

Dr. Johnson is available by consultation to help ensure your child’s vision is developing properly.

Pediatric Radiology: E. David Evans, MD

Dr. Evans is available by consultation to interpret diagnostic imaging tests for patients with cleft and craniofacial conditions.

More Information and Referrals

Enrollment is available to all patients in North and South Carolina. Referrals are accepted for patients of any age and can be made by patients, family or any member of a patient’s care team.  Dr. Jaskolka, Dr. Curtis, and nurse coordinator Alana McKeever, RN, are available to talk with families and answer any questions about the team and the services.
Prenatal consultation is available at the request of an obstetrician or maternal fetal medicine specialist.  For more information, please contact the team by phone at (910) 667-6406 or email: