About Cleft/Lip Pallete
What is Cleft/Lip Pallete?
Everything you wanted to know about Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate
Cleft lip and cleft palate are serious birth defects. The occurrence of this birth defect is however rare. It affects usually 1 out of 700 babies.
What is a cleft lip or cleft Palate?
A cleft lip or a cleft palate is a kind of facial malformation. It appears as a split or a narrow opening in the upper lip. In most cases, this separation goes beyond the base of the nose and continues further till the bones of the upper jaw and gum. Clefts occur when there are not sufficient tissues in the mouth or lip area. The tissues fail to join together effectively, thus resulting in a split or a cleft in the lip or the palate.
Cleft lip and cleft palate are birth defects that occur at a very early stage in pregnancy. However, their exact cause is not known. Several studies reveal that cleft occur due to genetic problems. Parents who have clefts or babies whose siblings or family members have clefts are at a higher risk of developing this defect. There are certain drugs that cause cleft lip and palate, such as anti convulsant drugs, or cancer, arthritis, and psoriasis drugs containing methotrexate, and Accutane. Exposure to certain chemicals and viruses during pregnancy also increases the risk of birth defects like cleft lip and cleft palate.
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A cleft lip or cleft palate is usually diagnosed during prenatal ultrasounds. In case where ultrasounds are unable to detect clefting in unborn babies, a physical examination of the mouth, nose, and palate confirms whether a baby is born with a cleft lip or palate.
Both cleft lip and cleft palate can be treated. The treatment usually starts when the child is between 3 to 6 months and continues till early adulthood.
Who can get a cleft lip or a cleft palate?
Cleft lip and cleft palate are birth defects that can affect anyone. But babies from Asian, Latino, and Native American background are at a higher risk of getting a cleft in their lips or palate, or both. Cleft lips are more common in boys compared to girls while cleft palate is more common in girls.
Who is the best candidate?
Babies who are born with a cleft in lip or palate have to face many problems. Some of the problems that are commonly associated with cleft lip/palate are Difficulty in eating Ear infections Problem in hearing Speech problems Dental problems The above problems can be solved to a large extent by seeking medical help and guidance of plastic surgeons, orthodontists, an ear, nose, or throat doctor, a prosthodontist, and a speech therapist. There are dental treatments that help reposition the teeth and surgeries for lip and palate that make things better for the children who have a cleft lip or palate.
What is the Cost?
The cost of the treatment depends on extent of the repair that is required and the number of surgeries that need to be performed. Cleft lip usually requires 1-2 surgeries but cleft palate requires several surgeries. If additional surgeries are required to enhance the appearance of the lip, nose, and for improving breathing and positioning of the jaw and teeth, the cost of the treatment goes even higher. To get the exact cost, consult a reputable surgeon.