Nasoalveolar Molding Program
Nasoalveolar molding (NAM) is a pre-surgical treatment used to improve the final results of surgical repair for cleft lip and cleft palate. Surgical repair alone cannot correct the multiple problems encountered with the deformities that result from clefts of the lip and palate.
The NAM process actually expands tissues prior to surgery. An acrylic orthopaedic appliance is used by dentists to approximate the cleft and mold the nose, reducing the amount of surgical correction required during treatment (in the majority of cases, children only need one surgery as opposed to two surgeries under general anesthesia to repair cleft lip and palate).
Timing is very important. The ideal time to begin NAM is one to two weeks after birth and before six weeks of age. At birth, there is a high level of hyaluronic acid in the infant which begins to fall off after six weeks of age. The presence of hyaluronic acid in the body makes molding the tissue and bones easier.