In This Section      

Johns Hopkins Health - The Mouths of Babes

Summer 2012
Issue No. 17

The Mouths of Babes

Date: July 18, 2012

A Maryland couple found help for a congenital defect that affected their children


In the fourth month of pregnancy with our second child, daughter Elizabeth, we received the type of news that every parent-to-be dreads: An ultrasound revealed she had a cleft lip. All expectant parents dream of having a perfect baby, and learning that ours had a congenital defect filled us with anxiety and launched us on a mission to find the best care possible for our daughter.

We spent hours researching on the Web, but luckily our pediatrician highly recommended Richard Redett, M.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Cleft and Craniofacial Center. We can never forget how Dr. Redett instantly put us at ease when we first met by saying, “Congratulations on your pregnancy.”

We enjoyed a rapport with him and appreciated his skills at distilling highly complex medical information into simple terms. We also felt reassured to know the center treats about 650 babies and children each year. Practice makes perfect, and we wanted a surgeon with a strong track record of success.

But our daughter’s care included much more than the plastic surgery she received at age 4 months to virtually erase her cleft lip. At the Johns Hopkins Cleft and Craniofacial Center, every infant receives a thorough evaluation by a team of specialists [including a geneticist; a pediatric ear, nose and throat specialist; a hearing specialist; an orthodontist; speech pathologist, nurse coordinator, dentist and feeding specialist, and a plastic surgeon]. Then at age 13 months to 15 months, each child is evaluated again by the team, including a speech pathologist, to ensure proper speech development.

No sooner did we think our challenges with oral clefts were a thing of the past than our third child, Ryder, was born with a cleft palate. Dr. Redett says the risk increases slightly with additional children. Ryder is now 6 months old, and Dr. Redett will repair his palate at age 10 months.

But this time we can relax, knowing we have an expert team at Johns Hopkins we can trust to give Ryder the best care that’s available.

Watch a video of Elizabeth's story
Watch a video about this family’s experience at the Johns Hopkins Cleft and Craniofacial Center at, or get details about cleft surgery at For more information, appointments or consultations, call 877-546-1872.

Participate in a Clinical Study
Johns Hopkins is conducting one of the largest studies in the world looking at the genetics of oral clefts. Families with children who have oral clefts can obtain more information about participating in the study by calling 410-955-9475.

Find Physicians Specializing In...