Cleft Lip/Palate

Alex Nieves


A cleft lip is when the roof of the mouth contains an opening into the nose. Cleft lip and palate occurs in about 1 to 2 per 1000 births in the world. CL is about twice as common in males as females, while CP without CL is more common in females. In 2013 it resulted in about 3,300 deaths globally down from 7,600 deaths in 1990.

What Causes it? How Does a Child Aquire it?

Cleft lip and palate is due to tissues of the face not properly joining together during development. They are a type of birth defect. The cause in most cases is unknown. Risk factors include smoking during pregnancy, diabetes, an older mother, obesity, and certain medications such as some used to treat seizures. They can often be diagnosed during an ultrasound during pregnancy.

Can it be Prevented?

In some cases yes, by eating properly and exercising along with following your physicians directions, more often than not this defect can be detected in the womb and corrected immediately.

Symptoms an Effects of Condition?

Often children with the defect experience ear infections, feeding problems, and speech problems. A Cleft lip is formed in the top of the lip as either a small gap or an indentation in the lip (partial or incomplete cleft) or it continues into the nose (complete cleft). Lip cleft can occur as a one sided (unilateral) or two sided (bilateral). It is due to the failure of fusion of the maxillary and medial nasal cavities (formation of the primary palate).

What are The Treatment Options?

The cleft pallet and lip can be treated with minor cosmetic surgery performed by almost all hospitals that is relatively cheap and quick in comparison to most surgeries, programs such as "Operation Smile" have been around specifically for this cause.
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