Life-changing surgery in Pakistan

St Hugh’s Hospital consultant Mr Muhammad Riaz’s pioneering work in correcting cleft noses has been published in a prestigious journal.

Consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon Mr Riaz has developed the ‘Gujrat’ cleft nose correction technique, which he practises with his team at the Cleft Hospital Pakistan – a facility he helped to establish. He travels twice a year to carry out charity work there, helping children with the condition.

His technique has now been published in the Sage Open journal, a peer-reviewed open access journal that features original research and review articles.

Mr Riaz explains: “Cleft nose is a complex deformity which is present in children born with cleft lip or cleft lip and palate. There is asymmetry of development of upper jaw bone.



“Cleft lip and palates are repaired in the early months of the child’s age. In some techniques, the nasal deformity is also corrected but in most of the patients the nasal deformity is corrected at or after puberty when the bony development is complete.

“These children have nasal blockage and severe nasal deformity due to malposition of nasal septum and hypoplasia and weakness of cleft side nasal cartilages.”

Mr Riaz is proud to offer his expertise to babies and children in Pakistan and under-developed countries – where clefts occur more frequently – through the Overseas Plastic Surgery Appeal. The Cleft Hospital is a leading authority on how to correct cleft; since 1995, it has performed more than 25,000 cleft surgeries. On each trip Mr Riaz undertakes, he and his fellow surgeons can operate up to 200 times.



Speaking to the Hull Daily Mail about his work, he explained how such conditions can affect a child’s morale, causing problems at school. “The children are so happy (after surgery) because they can mix with the schoolchildren in the playground,” he told the newspaper. “Before it was impossible for them; they seemed to be neglected. They’ve been teased by the other children in the school and in the play-area. But now they are confident and so happy.

“When you are able to do something, and the difference it makes to their lives, I think that is very satisfying. That keeps us going back to do this work.”

Mr Riaz has been part of the Overseas Plastic Surgery Appeal (OSPA) for many years as a trustee and medical team member. He said: “I have the responsibility to organise the teams for biannual trips to the Cleft Hospital, which include surgeons from the UK, Ireland, and other countries. The team also include nurses, operating department practitioners, and speech therapists.

“We encourage trainees from UK and Pakistan to join us during our visits, which provides them valuable clinical and cultural experience. We have set up teaching and training courses for nurses and paramedical staff to benefit from the visiting faculty. As the hospital is regularly providing treatment by the local staff, our visits help to deal with complex cases and to provide teaching and training so that best care can be provided to patients in other parts of the country.”

Read a feature detailing one hour in Mr Riaz’s clinic at the Cleft Hospital here. To find out more about Cleft Hospital Pakistan and its work, visit

To support future cleft programmes, you can help by donating to the OPSA charity here.

And access the Sage Open journal here.