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FAQ Frequently asked questions
What is cleft lip and palate?
A cleft lip and palate is a congenital condition, in which part of a baby's mouth is not joined up during fetal development, resulting in a split or open space (cleft) in the lip or palate.
What are the symptoms of cleft lip and palate?
Cleft lip appears as a split in the lip and cleft palate appears as a split in the roof of the mouth. Unlike cleft lip, cleft palate does not affect outward appearance, but still requires corrective surgery. Sometimes babies can be born with …
What causes cleft lip and palate?
The exact causes of cleft lip and palate are unknown. In some cases it is hereditary, with parents who had a cleft lip or palate carrying a small chance of passing it onto their child, but most cases appear spontaneously. Smoking tobacco and drinking …
What are complications of cleft lip and palate?
Complications of cleft lip and palate include: 1) Feeding difficulty - babies with a cleft lip are often able to nurse, but babies with a cleft palate are not because the open roof of the mouth causes a loss of suction. 2) Dental problems - …
How is cleft lip and palate diagnosed?
Sometimes cleft lip and palate is noticed before birth during ultrasound, but the sensitivity is low so it is commonly only noticed after birth during physical examination of the newborn.
How is cleft lip and palate treated?
Various surgical techniques are used to correct cleft lip and palate. However, there is no consensus about the timing, technique, or protocol of the repair. Surgery for cleft lip is usually performed around 3 to 6 months of age and cleft palate at 9 to …
Can cleft lip and palate be prevented?
Cleft lip and palate cannot be prevented. There is some evidence that avoiding alcohol and tobacco may reduce the risk of these birth defects. Taking folic acid may also reduce the risk, but the evidence is unclear. If you are taking medication for …
How do I feed my baby with cleft lip and palate?
Babies with a cleft lip are often able to breastfeed but babies with a cleft palate are not, because the open section in the roof of the mouth results in loss of suction. Bottle-feeding is therefore recommended.
About this article
Author: Jonathan Meddings BMedLabSc (Hons)
First answered: 16 Nov 2014
Last reviewed: 17 Oct 2018
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Votes: 275 (Click smiley face below left to rate)
Category: Cleft lip and palate