Matthew was born with a cleft lip and palate. At three months old, his cleft lip was repaired at Wolfson Children's Hospital by plastic surgeon R. Dean Glassman, MD, with the University of Florida (UF) Jacksonville Cleft/Lip Palate Clinic. At nine months, Dr. Glassman closed Matthew's soft palate. His hard palate was repaired at age 18 months. In between, Matthew had multiple ear tube surgeries by pediatric otolaryngologist Bruce Maddern, MD, for ear infections that were cleft-related. "Kids with Matthew's condition are really susceptible to ear infections their Eustachian tubes do not drain fluid from the middle ear into the throat as efficiently as other kids’ do," explained his mother Teice.
When Matthew was 3-½, he had a surgical pharyngeal flap repair, a procedure to correct the airflow during speech. "Matthew didn't have another surgery until March 2008, but it was a big one," remembers Teice. "Dr. Glassman took a bone graft from his hip and placed it in the alveolar ridge in his mouth to form a solid gum line, which will in the future hold a prosthetic tooth where he doesn’t have a permanent lateral incisor." Matthew also has braces, which has significantly straightened his teeth. A future surgery will improve his underbite so there are no functional issues later in life, such as teeth-grinding, TMJ or headaches.
Now a 12-year-old gifted student in sixth grade, Matthew takes all advanced classes and loves sports. Teice Haga and her family are grateful to the physicians, nurses and staff of the UF Cleft Lip and Palate Clinic and Wolfson Children's Hospital for their support and for taking such good care of Matthew. "I don’t know what we would've done without them," she said emotionally. "They've given Matthew a normal life."