• By Dana Sparks

Sharing Mayo Clinic: Treatment in hyperbaric chamber speeds healing after cleft palate surgery

June 13, 2021

When healing became an issue after young Kael Jaeger's cleft palate surgery, his care team turned to hyperbaric oxygen treatment, which is used to treat certain conditions and help in wound healing.


Before Kael Jaeger was born, his 20-week ultrasound revealed to his parents that he had a cleft lip and palate. As the couple, Jacy and Jesse Jaeger, adjusted to this new reality, his care team stepped up and created a plan for repairing this common birth defect.

A cleft lip and palate are openings or splits in the upper lip and roof of the mouth that don't close as an unborn baby develops. While usually isolated abnormalities, they can be associated with many inherited genetic conditions or syndromes. In addition to appearance, they also affect how a baby eats and swallows.

"Once they discovered the cleft lip and palate, his care team began checking him for other conditions. It turned out to be a very busy pregnancy," Jacy says. "We were thankful we knew ahead of his birth so it wasn't a shock, and when he was born, we could just focus on him."

Once they discovered the cleft lip and palate, his care team began checking him for other conditions. It turned out to be a very busy pregnancy.

Jacy Jaeger

The first concern when Kael was born was feeding. As Jacy says, he was a determined eater and took easily to a special bottle that is squeezed and doesn't require the baby to suck.

Next up was plastic surgery to repair the split in his lip.

At about 10 months, Kael had the first surgery to create a palate using a flap of his own skin. At first, it looked like it was healing well, but about a week later, Jacy noticed some holes developing, and the repair appeared to be pulling apart rather than growing together.

Read the rest of Kael's story on Sharing Mayo Clinic.