Nasoalveolar molding (NAM) is a non-surgical treatment for shaping the gums, lip and nostrils before cleft lip and palate surgery. The goal of NAM is to reduce the severity of the cleft before surgical repair by the plastic surgeon. Surgery is performed after the molding is finished, approximately three to six months after birth.
NAM is used mainly for children with large clefts or deformity of the nostrils. In the past, fixing a large cleft required multiple surgeries. The first procedure pulled the lip together, a second improved the position of the lip, another two would be for the nose, then another would close the palate, and so on. NAM allows the orthodontist and surgeon to improve a large cleft in the months before surgery. A smaller cleft can help the surgeon obtain improved shape of the nose and a thinner scar in only one surgery. A better result in the first surgery, means fewer surgeries later in childhood.