Patient receives life-changing surgery after ten years, giving her the self-confidence she never had

Eleven-year-old Mariela’s eyes widened with happiness when she saw herself in the mirror after undergoing surgery to correct her congenital cleft lip and palate at the Shriners Medical Center in Pasadena, California.

Caroline Yao, M.D., MS, a specialist in reconstructive plastic surgery at the Shriners Medical Center in Pasadena, said, “It is a great moment when, after the surgery, we give children like Mariela a mirror so they can see the change.” Mariela’s deformity had disappeared, replaced by well-defined lips in a timid smile.
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Madagascar with Operation Smile

In April 2019, Dr. Yao travelled to Antisrabe, Madagascar. Antisrabe is a 6 hour van ride from the capital city and in need of plastic surgeons. During the 10 day trip, Dr. Yao helped train 2 local surgeons in performing cleft lip and cleft palate operations while treating over 130 children in need.

Vietnam with Operation Smile

In November 2015, Dr. Yao designed a new program to track outcomes in cleft lip and palate surgery in Hanoi, Vietnam. She created an iPhone app that automated collection of cleft lip facial data to help improve outcomes of patients with the most severe types of disease.