Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate - Freedom, CA
In North America, cleft lip and cleft palate are the most common birth defects affecting children. Cleft lip is the incomplete formation of the upper lift. Cleft palate is the incomplete formation of the roof of the mouth. The defects can occur separately or together and may vary in severity.
Cause of Cleft Lip and Palate
A cleft develops very early in the development of a fetus. As the fetus develops, certain components of the upper lip and roof of the mouth may fail to form normally which results in a cleft.
Most clefts can be repaired through surgical procedures, which can dramatically improve your child’s ability to eat, speak, breathe, hear, and function more easily as well as restore their facial appearance.
Cleft Lip and Palate Procedure
Typically, a cleft lip is repaired when the child is between 6 to 12 weeks old. We will use general anesthesia so that your child will not feel any pain or discomfort during the procedure. The doctor will trim any necessary tissues and will sew the lip together using extremely small stitches. These stitches are designed to minimize any resulting scar.
Cleft palate repair is normally performed when the child is older, between the ages of 9 months and 1 year old. It is important to wait to perform the palate surgery, as the palate will change as the baby grows. However, the surgery must still be performed at an early age so as to prevent speech problems.
During the cleft palate procedure, your child will have general anesthesia so they will not experience any pain or discomfort. Tissue from the mouth will be moved to cover the soft palate. Occasionally, this procedure will need to be performed more than once to close the palate.