Cleft Palates and Lips Require Surgical Repair


Posted on 8/20/2018 by Westlake Oral & Plastic Surgery
Cleft Palates and Lips Require Surgical RepairAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 4,440 babies are born with a cleft lip and 2,650 are born with a cleft palate. Cleft palates and lips happen when the mouth of an infant doesn't form properly in the mother's womb.

The causes for cleft palates and lips incidences are unknown, but genetics and other factors, including the environment in which the expecting mother lives, the foods she eats, and the things she encounters could increase the chances of these birth defects. 

What is a Cleft Palate?


In some babies, the palate or roof of the mouth is not completely joined during pregnancy creating a cleft palate. Other babies have the front and back of the palate open.

What is a Cleft Lip?


As the facial features develop during pregnancy, tissue and cells from either side of the head start to meet in the center and form the face of a baby. A cleft lip happens when the lip tissue doesn't fully join in utero.

Why is Surgery Necessary with Cleft Palates and Lips?


Infants with cleft palates and lips have difficulty eating and when older, can have problems with speech and ear infections. Surgery to repair a cleft palate or lip is necessary to improve the child's quality of life.

Surgery to repair a cleft palate is recommended within the first 18-months of a child's life or earlier and cleft lip surgery can usually take place in the first few months and is recommended no later than within 12-months of life.

Surgery for these conditions will help a child with developmental issues such as speech, breathing, and by improving the appearance of their his or her face. Children with cleft palates and lips will require continuous treatment through childhood and sometimes adulthood.


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