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A Healthy Smile is Just the Beginning®


Dr. James Liau (4th from right) pictured with the cleft care team during the December 2022 visit.

Dr. James Liau, a Board member and long-time volunteer with Global Smile Foundation (GSF), is leading our collaboration with the cleft team Hospital Lusíadas Porto in Lisbon, Portugal. In December 2022, Dr. Liau was invited by the hospital to share an innovative surgical technique to address severe cleft that was pioneered by GSF.

Dr. Liau is an Associate Professor of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the Pediatric Craniofacial Section Chief at University of Kentucky College of Medicine. He specializes in pediatric plastic and reconstructive surgery and craniofacial surgery, with a focus on comprehensive treatment of children born with cleft as well as other congenital birth defects.

Matias was born with a severe bilateral cleft lip and palate in 2018, when he underwent surgery with the same technique that Dr. Liau provided in Portugal.

During the December visit, Dr. Liau demonstrated the unique bilateral cleft lip repair while performing surgeries for two patients. The GSF technique combines multiple procedures into one surgery, both easing the burden of cleft care for patients and families and resulting in optimal outcomes for patients.

He commented that, “It was a great opportunity for everyone to share ideas and experiences, and the trip was a great success.”

Dr. Liau will be returning to the Portugal in November 2023 to perform more surgeries with the hospital’s cleft team and also reunite with the patients from last year. Efforts like this one are part of GSF’s vision of developing global cleft care access through training and education. GSF President Dr. Usama Hamdan commented, “We are looking forward to continuing this relationship with the Portugal Cleft Team in the coming years.”

More information can be found in the article, “Single-Stage Posterior Vomerine Ostectomy and Primary Cheiloplasty in Patients with Bilateral Cleft Lip & Palate and Protuberant Premaxilla.” (Click on article title for more information)