Making a difference one life at a time

Children born in the United States with a cleft lip or palette have surgery available to correct the condition. But this is not the case in much of the developing world where such a condition means the child will be a virtual outcast.

And that is where Dr. Vincent Perciaccante and Healing the Children Northeast come in. Perciaccante and a team of surgeons will be returning to Nicaragua in May to provide a much-needed service to children who would likely never receive help.

With offices in Fayetteville and Peachtree City, Perciaccante has made trips to Central and South America for the past 15 years. He is traveling to Nicaragua with Children Northeast on this trip since no teams have been to that country in the recent past.

“We haven’t had teams in Nicaragua for a good while so we’re catching up,” Perciaccante said.

The current trip to the capital city of Managua was arranged by its local Rotary Club, though for Perciaccante it will be his fourth trip to the city.

“Since going to this site several times we can do follow-up and progressive surgical procedures,” Perciaccante explained. “We have good support from local surgeons who don’t have the resources that we have.”

The trip in May will likely include screenings for 100-120 children and the scheduling of approximately 70 surgeries to be performed over the following five days.
For Perciaccante, the whole idea behind the surgical trips is quite simple.

“I enjoy doing the surgery and I particularly like helping the children who wouldn’t be able to get this care otherwise,” he said, noting the wide disparity between the have’s and have-not’s in Central America. “A child with an un-repaired cleft lip or palette will have trouble with things like speech and can be an outcast in society.”

Aside from bringing their surgical expertise and the equipment needed to perform the surgeries, the medical team also brings other items such as clothes and toys for their young patients and their families, and they leave the unused, disposable medical supplies for local physicians.

“We feel very welcomed. The people are wonderful,” Perciaccante said with a smile.

Though the trip in May is a few weeks away, Perciaccante said the next trip, hopefully in November, is already being planned.

Perciaccante opened offices in Fayette County three years ago and serves with Grady Hospital and the Fayette Care Clinic. He and his family live in Peachtree City.

Perciaccante received both his undergraduate and dental school education at New York University. In 1995, Dr. Perciaccante moved to the Atlanta area to pursue specialty train