For me, one of the best parts of any clinic day is sitting with parents and their children with cleft lip and/or cleft palate and helping them navigate the timelines their treatment, surgeries, procedures, consultations with hearing and speech specialists, dentists and orthodontists, and others. The resilience of these families inspires me to work harder for them.
Recently, Dr.Tollefson discussed the care of a child with cleft lip and palate and answered questions from the public on Facebook Live.
As co-director of the University of California Davis Cleft and Craniofacial Program Dr. Tollefson is honoured to work with an amazing team of specialists who are dedicated to these kids. At UC Davis, we believe coordinated care is better care, and patients will receive both the most advanced techniques and surgical procedures as well as be cared for by a team of pediatric specialists. Together, our multi-disciplinary team is accredited by the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association for the management of children with cleft and craniofacial conditions. Using a multi-disciplinary team approach, we feel that we are stronger together.
Dr. Tollefson organizes an annual Interactive Cleft and Velopharyngeal Dysfunction Meeting for specialists from around the country to get together and share experiences. Dr. Tollefson published an evidence-based textbook, titled Complete Cleft Care to help guide professionals treating children with clefts with the best available practices. He is actively leading research to monitor the outcomes of children’s surgeries and the effects of cleft lip – palate and microtia have on the patients and their families.
The care process starts as early meeting prenatal counseling with expecting parents who have been advised that by Perinatology or Maternal- Fetal Medicine Team that a perinatal ultrasound shows a possible cleft lip or palate. I believe that by offering support and setting goals, parents can feel more empowered and ready for their new child. All of our care at UC Davis Children’s Hospital is performed as a team of dedicated pediatric specialists offering comprehensive cleft lip, cleft palate and craniofacial evaluations, state-of-the-art surgical procedures, specialized speech and feeding studies, hearing evaluation and treatment, feeding/nutritional assessment, dental, orthodontic and maxillofacial surgery evaluation and treatment, and genetic counseling.