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Albany Medical Center prepares to open cleft and cranio-facial center

June 29, 2015 03:24 PM

Albany Medical Center is opening a cleft and cranio-facial center.

It will provide treatment for children affected by these physical anomalies that can have a profound impact on a child's life.

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Twenty-two month old Tyler Thurman is the youngest of four and a study in perpetual motion. So you can imagine how difficult it would have been for his parents to travel to from their Watervliet home to Boston or New York City for the surgery he needed to treat his cleft lip.

“We were out of our minds about having to travel to Boston and what would we do about work and how would family come to visit us,” said Melissa Hoffman, Tyler’s mom.

The Jones' from Chestertown tell a similar story. Their 14-month-old, Nathaniel, needed surgery to correct a problem with his skull. He's the youngest of their seven children.

“They have gone over and above to try to make our visits, you know, compact and back to back so we don't have to spend a day or two coming down every month,” pointed out Cheri Bartlett, Nathaniel’s mom.

Both families are thanking the new Cleft-Craniofacial Center at Albany Medical Center.

It's generally not one and done with cleft or cranio-facial surgeries. As Dr. Seun Adetayo, director of the new center explains. There are often multiple surgeries, and other medical services like dental, psychological and orthodontic needed by these children to fully recover. Many of them have additional health issues.

“Over 50 percent of children with ISO cleft lip and palate will have syndromes which means that they have problems with other organs such as the heart or the lungs,” explained Dr. Adetayo.

So bringing all the services under one roof makes it easier for the doctors to consult and plan the best treatment. For the families it means less wear and tear and more support. 

“Sometimes the visits are monthly. Sometimes they're weekly. It truly is a lifelong commitment from the time a child is born until they reach adulthood,” Dr. Adetayo said.

The center officially opens in July and Dr. Adetayo is already looking for a larger space to include even more of the providers these children need.

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WNYT Staff

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