Following on from a recent appearance on BBC Cambridge Radio discussing cleft lip and palate treatment, Mr Tariq Ahmad was interviewed by Cambridge News on his experience as a cleft palate surgeon in Cambridge.
Mr Tariq Ahmad has a busy private cosmetic surgery practice where he performs the full range of cosmetic surgery procedures, from tummy tucks to facelifts. Although patients may be distressed by the presence of sagging skin and excess fat on the abdomen or the arrival of facial lines and wrinkles, these procedures are elective and done purely to enhance the physical appearance.
By contrast, much of the work that Mr Tariq Ahmad performs at Addenbrooke’s NHS hospital in Cambridge is reconstructive work that is necessary for the patient to live a ‘normal’ life. This is particularly true of cleft lip and palate surgery which is why Mr Tariq Ahmad described such work to Cambridge News as ‘rewarding’ and an ‘absolute privilege’.
In the past, most plastic surgeons performed a certain amount of cleft work as part of their NHS commitments, but now the trend is to have a few plastic surgeons at dedicated centres around the country perform all cleft surgery. This is to ensure that the highest degree of expertise and experience is concentrated for the patients’ benefit.
Addenbrooke’s is the only centre in the East of England performing these procedures, between 80 to 100 patients a year, and Mr Tariq Ahmad is only one of three surgeons who carry out the operations.
A further change that has benefited cleft patients is that multi-disciplinary teams have been brought together to oversee every aspect of the patient’s care and treatment. As Mr Ahmad explained to Cambridge News: “Most of our children we can get to have a normal life. It’s not that we want them to be disadvantaged, we want them to have good teeth, good appearance, good speech, good hearing and good growth.”
“We like that all to be sorted out before they go to school. On the lip there will be a scar but we try and make it so the profile and contours on the nose are as normal or as close as possible. Any child with a cleft should expect a reasonable and normal existence.”