Cleft lip and cleft palate comprise a form of birth defect.
- A cleft lip is a separation of the two sides of the lip
- The separation often includes the bones of the upper jaw and/or upper gum
- A cleft palate is an opening in the roof of the mouth
- It is a condition in which the two sides of the palate did not fuse, or join together, as the unborn baby was developing
Cleft lip and cleft palate can occur on one side (unilateral cleft lip and/or palate), or on both sides (bilateral cleft lip and/or palate). Because the lip and the palate develop separately, it is possible for the child to have a cleft lip, a cleft palate, or both cleft lip and cleft palate.
- Failure to gain weight
- Feeding problems
- Flow of milk through nasal passages during feeding
- Misaligned teeth
- Poor growth
- Recurrent ear infections
- Separation of the lip alone
- Separation of the palate
- Separation of the lip and palate
- Speech difficulties
- Change in nose shape
Exams and Tests
A physical examination of the mouth, nose, and palate confirms a cleft lip or cleft palate. Medical tests may be done to rule out other possible health conditions.
Treatment plan required at appropriate ages
- After birth first consultation with parents, for advice on feeding and follow up for weight gain
- 3-5 months Cleft lip repair with nose correction
- 9-12 months Cleft palate repair
- 1-2 years Hearing check-up to rule out middle ear collection to prevent infection
- 2-4 year Close watch on the development of speech,and its therapy as required
- Regular dental check-up with pediatric dentist
- 4-6 years Surgery for speech improvement which is necessary in 1-15 per cent of children after palate operation
- 6-12 years Dental check-up and orthodontic treatment
- Bone graft for the defect in alveolus at 9 years
- Teenage years Correction of nose shape if patients demand and surgery to improve face
- Adult Genetic counseling to reduce inheritance of the defect
So if your child or any one you know of requires treatment for cleft lip or cleft lip and palate, act now and get relief.
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