It may be hard to tell, but this is a picture of Dr. Burgess alongside her husband. While taking a break from their respective practices, the two joined a medical mission to perform cleft lip and palate surgeries on children in the Philippines.
What is a Cleft Lip and Palate?
A cleft is a separation or opening. Cleft lip and palate openings are birth defects in the lips and mouth. A cleft lip is an opening in the lip that may connect with the nose. A cleft palate has an opening from the roof of the mouth to the nose. With most babies, the tissues that make up the lip and palate fuse together during the 6-11 weeks of pregnancy. But, in some cases, the fusion never occurs or occurs only part way, resulting in a cleft lip or cleft palate defect.
A cleft can cause a child difficulties with feeding, speaking clearly, and hearing properly. Many children are also plagued with frequent ear infections. There are, of course, the social implications and difficulties that a young child with a cleft face.
Serving the Underserved
With little aid available to them, families come with hopes high and leave with their hearts full. The dramatic results of cleft lip and palate reconstruction are immediate. With her background in plastic and reconstructive surgery, Dr. Burgess is able to perform the necessary steps to see and help as many children as possible.
While it sounds—and is—hectic, volunteering for overseas missions has proved especially rewarding for Dr. Burgess. Grateful for her work, many parents are reduced to tears when they see the results of their child’s transformation.
With a desire to volunteer the underserved communities around the world, Dr. Burgess enjoys her time with those she serves. She can help guide you to the best organization for donation for the cleft lip and palate children. She is happy to share her stories and pictures with you at her Lake Oswego practice.