Support to the First Smile House in Milan for the Treatment of Facial Malformations

Project location: ITALY, Milan
Project start date: October 2013 - Project end date: October 2014
Project number: 2013-047
Beneficiary: Fondazione Operation Smile Italia Onlus



The Smile House in Milano’s main objectives are:

Treating Italian and non Italian patients living in Italy affected by facial malformations such as cleft lip and palate;
Conducting medical fellowships, workshops and specialty training for medical staff coming from  countries having limited sources offering year-round treatment and medical training;
Implementing  three research projects concerning maxillo-orthopaedic growth; nose and throat functionality; and cleft lip and palate genetics.
In co-operation with the Ospedale San Paolo in Milan, The Smile House screened around 900 patients, to provide them with free medical examinations and performed about 150 safe surgeries from June 2013 to June 2014.  The specialistic team included plastic surgeons, anaesthesiologists, paediatricians, nurses, speech pathologists, psychologists and other credentialed health professionals.

All specialists, plastic surgeons, anaesthesiologists, paediatricians, nurses, speech pathologists, and psychologists participate to the first patients’ visit as a team.  As a second step, they organize their activities independently according to their specific field of action.

As far as surgery itself is concerned, the protocol requires a two step process for the bilateral and unilateral cleft lip cases that are superior to a centimeter. One surgical procedure is required for unilateral cases inferior to a centimeter.

Orthodontists also participate to the first patients’ visit.  Patients who live nearby the center are given priority, and there currently are 120 patients under regular treatment.  Patients who live far from the center are seen on a bi-annual basis.  Orthodontic research is currently being done on “nose growth post columella’s extension”, “stability at growth end of orthopedic maxillary advancements” and alveoloplasty CAT study”.

Speech therapists provide counseling to the patients during the first visit and give information on the child language evolution.  They also monitor the child every three months plus utilize surveys that can be filled out by the parents without having to go to the center.  Speech therapies that utilize the language samples collected during the visits may require instruments like nose endoscopy or video fluorography. These exams are provided only to patients who can easily reach the Center.  For children who live far from the center, speech therapy is carried out bother specialists who work in the patients’ living area but the patients are still periodically checked at the Center.

As far as research is concerned, special attention is being given to language problems of adopted children and to the speech performance of patients who underwent one surgical procedure.

Since inception in 2011, the Smile House activity is constantly increasing:

In 2012,  889 patients were screened and 133 were provided surgery

In 2013,  1468 patients were screened and 144 were provided surgery

Fondazione Operation Smile Italia Onlus
think global, act local
you are here: Home  > Projects:  Charity or Europe  (or Both)  > 2013-047  > Final Report