Above: Valentina before the first operation
Above: Valentina 6 months after the first operation
Although CLEFT is not directly involved in South America, Brian Sommerlad has been to several Latin American countries to work with local surgeons such Dr Alberto Bardales. Dr Bardales is from Peru but has a team which travels to many parts of Peru and to other countries in the area.
As in many of these visits, patients with unusual conditions often present. In Bolivia in May 2015, Brian met Valentina, a 3 month-old baby, who had an unusual cleft involving the tongue, lower lip and jaw and the neck. The first operation to reconstruct the tongue, lower lip and mandible was performed during that visit and Valentina came back in November 2015 when Dr Bardales repaired her palate.