Connor finds a ‘hero’ for cleft lip and palate repair at Lurie Children’s

Connor was diagnosed with cleft lip and palate before he was born when the condition was revealed on an ultrasound when his mom Jessica was 20 weeks pregnant. Jessica and Brian, Connor’s dad, searched for the best team to correct the condition and were thankful to find it close to their suburban Chicago home.

Lurie Children's Cleft Lip & Palate Repair Program team is led by pediatric plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Arun Gosain, an expert in the correction of cleft lip and palate who trains other plastic surgeons in the U.S. and abroad and leads research in pediatric craniofacial surgery at the Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute.

“Before Connor was born, Dr. Gosain walked us through his methods and approach to care. We were so relieved,” Jessica said.

connor pre and post surgery.PNG

Baby Connor before and after his lip repair surgery

Because Connor had a wide cleft lip and palate – or as his parents like to joke, an ‘extra wide smile’ – Connor began his cleft appointments just a few days after his birth. His circumstances made him a candidate for a special presurgical technique available at Lurie Children’s called nasoalveolar molding, or NAM, that helps reduce scarring and improve surgical outcomes.

The NAM device stretches and forms the cartilaginous contours of the nose, providing for a more normalized anatomy for the surgeon to work with.

After five months of NAM therapy, Connor had his nose and lip repair surgery with Dr. Gosain, and then, at one year old, his palate was repaired.

As he grew up, Connor endured additional surgeries with Dr. Gosain, including a bone graft to help repair the missing bone in his gums, an effect of the cleft lip and palate, that helps ensure proper tooth development.

“Sending your child off to surgery never gets easier, but the care and support the Lurie Children’s team provides is unmatched,” Jessica said. “There have many tears, by both us and Connor, but there is always a Lurie Children’s staff person to comfort and ensure that everything is going to be OK.”

Connor now.jpg

Connor, now 8, proudly shares his story with classmates if they inquire about his scar

Today, Connor is eight years old and loves soccer and video games. His family relocated to Florida a couple years ago but return to Chicago annually for his follow-up cleft lip and palate appointments with Dr. Gosain and the team, which make for a happy reunion between the young patient and the Lurie Children’s team.

“When you ask him who his hero is, he always says ‘Dr. Gosain,’” Jessica said.

Sign up for our Newsletter

Get health tips from our pediatric experts, news about ground-breaking research, and feel-good moments delivered right to your inbox.

Subscribe Now
Patient Stories

Related Posts

Revolutionary Therapy Provides Hope to Rare Disease Patients like Wesley

At 19 months old, Wesley was diagnosed with a rare, genetic disorder called Hunter Syndrome. His parents moved to Chicago to pursue the best possible treatment option - a revolutionary clinical trial with Dr. Barbara Burton.

Read More

‘Welcome to Your New Home:’ A Look at the Process of Transporting Hearts

Alexa Tannous, one of the physician assistants (PA) in the Heart Center’s cardiovascular and thoracic surgery,  shares these details and more on the integral – and emotional – process of safely transporting these precious organs.

Read More

Kelin ‘In Good Hands’ with ENT Expert in Robotic Surgery

Kelin had a large vascular lesion in her throat that was growing and needed to be surgically removed and came to Lurie Children's state-of-the-art pediatric Robotic Surgery Program.

Read More