…today she will have no problem blowing out her birthday candle.
A year ago, our daughter was born with a complete cleft lip and palate. As a practicing pediatrician in Bergen County, I thought I knew a fair amount about cleft lip and palate, but my wife was devastated when we got the news about our daughter. Despite the best explanations from the doctors and specialists, she could not help but to blame herself. The many explanations did little to assuage her fears, sorrow and guilt. She began looking through the Internet, which only added to her horror. It was hard to fathom what was happening to our daughter.
Many steps were taken before my daughter’s birth to fully characterize what to expect medically. After repeat examinations, a genetic consultation and a three-dimensional ultrasound, we found ourselves in the office of Dr. Frank Ciminello, a regional expert in craniofacial and pediatric plastic surgery.
The first of two surgeries was done when my daughter was three months old. Dr. Ciminello repaired the lip and my wife and I finally got an opportunity to see what our daughter was supposed to look like. When she came out of surgery, both my wife and I could not believe our eyes. It was at this moment that my wife’s skepticism started to fade. She still asked many questions that Dr. Ciminello patiently answered – sometimes the same question multiple times.
Prior to the palate repair, my wife was still very anxious. Dr. Ciminello explained that this surgery would help our daughter with feeding and ultimately improve her ability to speak. Needless to say, the surgery went well and our daughter went home the next day, true to Dr. Ciminello’s word.
TODAY, ON HER BIRTHDAY,our daughter is doing great and it’s sometimes hard to remember her with the cleft lip. Although it would have been hard to imagine back then, today she will have no problem blowing out her birthday candle.
I guess sometimes in life, you have to see it to believe it.”
Without Dr. Ciminello, I can not imagine where I would be now or how I would look today
“On April 16, 2010, I was riding my bicycle after work to get ready for a race I had the next day. Unfortunately, I never completed my ride that day. A minivan pulled out in front of me giving me no time to hit the brakes or react, and my face impacted the rear quarter window and frame of the car. As a result of the impact, I broke virtually every bone in my face between my eyebrows and my jaw and had severe lacerations to my face. My left eye orbit was so damaged it practically didn’t exist anymore. I was quickly rushed to Hackensack University Medical Center where Dr. Ciminello and others operated on me for several hours to reconstruct the bones and stitch the many cuts to my face.
When I awoke the next day, I was extremely worried about how I would look after I was told of my facial injuries. Several days after leaving the hospital, I was able to make my first follow up visit to see Dr. Ciminello in his office so he could see my progress and explain to me better what he had done during the first surgery. Dr. Ciminello was not only professional, but extremely friendly and put me at ease as he explained what he had done during my first
surgery and what would be required over the next year in order to give me the best chance for recovery. Over the course of the year, I saw Dr. Ciminello weekly and he performed more than seven complex reconstructive surgeries to fix my cheekbones and eye orbit.
I always felt at ease knowing he was my surgeon. I am happy to say that I have made a full recovery and I am racing my bike again. Without Dr. Ciminello, I can not imagine where I would be now or how I would look today. Due to the amazing work Dr. Ciminello did, you can barely tell I was ever in an accident!
I am very happy to say that I not only had an amazing surgeon who put my face back together, he is also someone I can call a friend.”
I am grateful that my mother found someone who could help me.
“My name is Caitlyn and I was born with Romberg disease, a rare disorder characterized by a slow progressive deterioration of half of my face. When I was a baby, it didn’t show but when I turned 5 a white spot appeared on my left cheek. One day, I came home crying because some kids are just plain mean. When I was 9 it got worse and they called me names. I got bullied and kept to myself. I wondered why people always stared at me as if something was wrong with me. My left cheek started to sink in as if I didn’t have a cheek at all. My mother took me to a bunch of doctors. They weren’t so sure what I had. I got sick of seeing doctors who didn’t know what was wrong with me and I started to give up. Then it happened, my mother was talking to a woman who suggested a surgeon in New Jersey. His name is Dr. Frank Ciminello. He specializes in facial reconstruction and restoration. She said he was one of the best surgeons in the state.
In the beginning, I thought he was just another surgeon who wanted a shot at figuring out what was really wrong with me. I felt like it was a waste of my time. Dr. Ciminello explained what Romberg Disease is and said he would do his best to help. Every few months I had surgery to improve the way my face looked. With every surgery, it looked better and better. I wanted to be strong and look my best. I tried to care less what people thought because I knew after all I was going through I would look beautiful. Dr. Ciminello helped me overcome my fears, helping me discover how beautiful I really am.
I am 13 now and I have gone through a lot for a 13-year-old. My face has been getting better thanks to Dr. Ciminello. Fewer people notice that anything is different about me because my face doesn’t look sunken in any longer. It mostly looks full and normal. These days when someone mentions my face I just tell them, “Don’t worry about it” and smile. It’s still a very sensitive topic for me and sometimes when I think about it a tear comes down my face. But I remind myself how far I have come and that I am now stronger. My friends say that my face is looking more beautiful every day, all thanks to my favorite surgeon Dr. Frank Ciminello. He is the reason why I look so much better today. I am grateful that my mother found someone who could help me. He has changed my life.
Sooner or later, I will look in the mirror and see the beautiful woman I always wanted to be.”
“It is hard to remember life before the surgery”
“Our son was born on May 7, 2011. Immediately we noticed his forehead was very pointy unlike our daughter’s when she was born. At our one month follow up his head shaped had worsened. To say the least we were very worried and our internet searches only worsened our anxiety.
Our Pediatrician referred us to Dr. Frank Ciminello, the Section Chief of Craniofacial and Pediatric Plastic Surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center. Upon meeting Dr. Ciminello, we immediately felt that we were in great hands. I’m not sure there is an easy way to describe the emotions that we carried into that first meeting. Our precious 6-week old son had Craniosynostosis, a condition where the bones in the skull fuse too early. Dr. Ciminello’s confidence, expertise, composure and patience provided great reassurance during a terrifying moment in our lives.
The months leading up to the surgery were filled with constant anxiety about the upcoming operation. We had many questions and worries. Every time we consulted Dr. Ciminello, he provided us with optimism and reassurance.
When Adrian was 5 months old, Dr. Ciminello reconstructed the bones in the front of Adrian’s head. He had explained that we would see immediate results in Adrian’s appearance. We never expected that it would be such a dramatic improvement.
Now that we are getting ready to celebrate Adrian’s first birthday, he looks and acts just like any other child his age.
It is hard to remember life before the surgery.
We are fortunate and grateful to have met Dr. Ciminello, whose work has made such a significant and invaluable impact on our son’s life.”
“Our family is incredibly grateful to Dr. Frank Ciminello and his team.”
“May 26, 2011 was the greatest day two parents could ask for. Our son, Xavier was born, six weeks early. Although he was a strong 5 lbs 3 oz, he spent the next five weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. With each passing week he grew bigger, healthier, and always kept a smile on his face.
A few months later, we noticed that his head was misshapen. At first, we thought that it was due to him favoring one sleeping position but after some time and countless exercises, we couldn’t correct the shape. Luckily we had a wonderful pediatrician who suggested that we see Dr. Frank Ciminello. Dr. Ciminello diagnosed Xavier’s cranial deformity as Craniosynostosis, which is the premature fusion of the infant skull. Dr. Ciminello patiently explained that this condition typically leads to a progressive distortion of the infant skull and orbits and that surgery offers the best chance to normalize our son’s condition.
On March 13, 2012 only a few days after he got his first tooth, Dr. Ciminello performed the operation to reopen the fused cranial sutures. Dr. Ciminello was there every step of the way to help ease our worries and concerns. Xavier’s recovery was better than we could have ever expected. There was no need for a helmet since the shape of his head immediately started to normalize. Fortunately, his scar is rapidly healing and there is barely a trace of it. He is now a healthy and rambunctious fifteen month old who loves to blow kisses and dances. I don’t believe that our son would have recovered so well and quickly without Dr. Ciminello’s hard work and efforts. Our family is incredibly grateful to Dr. Frank Ciminello and his team.”