By: Melissa Lucena
History of Cleft Palate
The history of cleft palate starts off with the beginning of curing it. The first case of successfully closing cleft palate happened in China in 390 B.C. Even though there were high advances in Egypt and Greece, there was no record of cleft palate operations. There was no other successful operation until 1816 during a surgery under chloroform. The explanation for the absence of cleft surgeries from 390 B.C. to 1816 A.D. was that cleft palate was considered secondary to syphilis, an STD, the pain the patient would have to go through without anesthetic, and the operation was a difficult process especially in the time period.
How is Cleft Palate Diagnosed
Cleft palate can be diagnosed even when the baby is still in the womb through ultrasound. It can also be diagnosed when the child is born, because the disease is physical and is easily seen.
How is the Disease Received
How the disease is received is unknown, even though heredity may play a role. It is also said that if the mother smokes or takes drugs while pregnant, it contributes to the disease.
Signs and Symptoms of Cleft Palate
In a child or adult with cleft palate, there is a noticeable gap in the lip and roof of the mouth. Signs and symptoms of cleft palate are that milk may come out of the nose during nursing because of the abnormal connection between the mouth and nose, there possible dental problems such as missing teeth or extra teeth, there may be frequent ear infections, and there may be problems with speech.
Treatment for cleft palate heavily depends on the severity of the disease. The child or adult will have a team of specialists to meet their needs, such as a speech pathologist, an orthodontist, a plastic surgeon, etc.
Article on treatment of cleft palate by Doctors Without Borders:
Article on a Non-Profit Cleft Palate Clinic: