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Correction of Birth Defects - cleft lip/palate


Cleft lip Or Palate

Oral-facial clefts are birth defects in which the tissues of the mouth or lip don't form properly during fetal development. The good news is that both cleft lip and cleft palate are treatable birth defects. Most kids who are born with these conditions can have reconstructive surgery within the first 12 to 18 months of life to correct the defect and significantly improve facial appearance.

A diagram Illustration showing unilateral and bilateral cleft lip and palate

Symptoms : A child with a cleft lip or palate tends to be more susceptible to colds, hearing loss, and speech defects. Dental problems. Feeding can be another complication for an infant with a cleft lip or palate. A cleft lip can make it more difficult for a child to suck on a nipple, while a cleft palate may cause formula or breast milk to be accidentally taken up into the nasal cavity.

Cleft Lip Surgery : A cleft lip can range in severity from a slight notch in the red part of the upper lip to a complete separation of the lip extending into the nose. Clefts can occur on one or both sides of the upper lip. Surgery is generally done when the child is about 3 months to 6 months old. The nostril deformity often associated with cleft lip may also be improved at the time of lip repair or in a later surgery.

Cleft Palate Surgery : In some children, a cleft palate may involve only a tiny portion at the back of the roof of the mouth; for others, it can mean a complete separation that extends from front to back. Just as in cleft lip, cleft palate may appear on one or both sides of the upper mouth. However, repairing a cleft palate involves more extensive surgery and is usually done when the child is 7 - 9 months old, so the baby is bigger and better able to tolerate surgery.