Cleft Lip & Cleft Palate
A Cleft lip or cleft palate develops during the early stages of pregnancy and it results from the insufficient tissue in the mouth or lip area as the baby develops.
2 in 750 babies are born with either a cleft lip or a cleft palate or both. It is usually a painful and saddening moment for the mother
A cleft lip or palate is perhaps one of the commonest craniofacial abnormalities in babies.
What is a Cleft Lip OR Cleft Palate?
A Cleft Lip is a visible split that results in the complete separation of the upper lip (unilateral) or both sides of the mouth (bilateral). This separation often extends beyond the base of the nose to the bones, upper jaw or the upper gum.
A Cleft Palate is a gap or a split in the roof of the mouth. A cleft palate can affect both the soft palate (towards the throat) and the hard palate “front” (towards the lips).
Some babies are born with only a cleft lip whereas others may be born with only a cleft palate and there are also cases where some babies are born with both the defects and this may impose breathing difficulties.
Causes of a Cleft Lip or a palate
The exact cause of clefts is unknown, but experts associate the cases to both genetic and environmental factors.
Certain medications may also be responsible for cleft formation, such as; seizure drugs, arthritis drugs, cancer drugs, and acne drugs containing Accutane and methotrexate.
Any medical or harmful condition that can affect the fetus can lead to a cleft formation.
Treatment for Cleft Lip Or Cleft Palate
Clefts are treated through surgeries and it requires specialized surgeons and doctors for corrections to be done. A Cleft Lip Surgery in India normally requires one or two surgeries depending on the extent of the deformation. A cleft lip is visible right after birth and the first cleft lip surgery is usually performed when the baby is just a few months old.
There are different operative techniques for cleft lip surgeries and they are performed under general anesthesia.
On the other hand, a Cleft palate requires multiple surgeries throughout one’s life that may also include bone grafting due to the repair that needs to be done. It may require teeth, breathing and speech correction.
Every baby is unique and so do the treatment approaches differ when treating clefts in babies and adults.
Results after A Cleft Lip Surgery or a Cleft Palate Surgery
The results are at times subtle depending on the extent of the deformity. A cleft lip surgery can eliminate the gap, but the facial deformities may not completely be eroded. A face lift or other possible procedures may be performed to correct the defects.
There is improved speech and facial development in case the surgery is performed as early as possible.