Nicole Heller, DNP – Rush University Medical Center


We see a variety of different patients — ranging
from cleft lip, cleft palate, different craniofacial anomalies, different injuries or traumas that
require different reconstruction. I am there for the patients and their families
for pre-ops, post-ops, answer any additional questions that they may have. For kids who have a cleft lip and the scar
has not healed appropriately, that impacts their daily life. So we help discuss different options for scar
revisions to help improve that. So people don’t look at them and just think
that they have a cleft. We want them to look and not even recognize
that they had a cleft. A lot of patients or families — when they
come back into our office for their initial post-op visits — they are extremely happy
with the results and are so excited that they have improved function of their lip, or improved
function that they can breathe out of both sides of their nose, they are able to eat
and drink better, they’re able to speak better, they’re able to swallow better. Surgery is not the only option. That’s something we only do if it’s 100%
necessary. We wouldn’t want to put any kid through
a surgery that is not necessary. If it’s something that can just be addressed
with different therapies, that’s the way we will go.

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