Lilah's mom, Paige, has chronicled her daughter's journey to repair her Tessier Cleft. We have shared Lilah's story here, as the treatment has progressed. Lilah's final surgery was to repair her eye, complete a bone graft for her cleft and make some soft tissue changes. To see Lilah's journey unfold, be sure to read the first post, second post, third post and fourth post. And you can read Lilah's adoption story here.
It has been ten weeks since Lilah's eye surgery.
She has healed very well and all the doctors are very happy with her outcome. We have to massage her scars 3x per day, but her surgeon said that if it was going to pull down more, it would have by now. Massaging helps reduce the build up of scar tissue and makes the scar less visible.
Lilah has handled everything without complaint of any kind.
Lilah has many more surgeries in her future.
Most of them will be when she is around the age of six or seven. They will take a bone graft from her skull and mold it to fit into the cleft in her face. They may also do some fat injections to build up the right cheek under her eye. They will also attempt to fix her right nostril, by taking cartilage from her ear and using that to make a new nostril, but right now that cartilage is too soft to use. The muscle above her lip (where she had a cleft lip- that was fixed while she was still in China) bulges quite a bit, especially when sucking or smiling and they will try to redo that as well.
Some of these surgeries may be done at the same time, but since the plans always seem to change, who knows...
This eye surgery made a huge change in her appearance. It will never be perfect. When she smiles, that eye does not squint like her other eye and the cheek does not move in the same way as the left cheek. The right eye will always be a few millimeters lower than the left eye and she will never have that beautiful Asian eyelid crease that her left eye has.
But we think she is beautiful.
Lilah's optometrist is always very happy with Lilah's vision improvements. She needs to continue to wear her patch for a couple of hours a day, but the good news is that she may no longer need glasses when she reaches the age of seven or eight years. By then her brain should be retrained into using her right eye. The vision won't be perfect in her right eye, but the impairment should be minor enough that she won't need glasses. When she is older, she could even just wear a contact in that eye.
As a reminder... here is her before picture.