Cleft lip and palate
Cleft lip and palate are birth defects that occur when a baby’s lip or mouth does not form properly. There are openings or splits in the upper lip, the roof of the mouth ( palate), or both.
Such a situation may happen early during pregnancy when facial structures that are developing in an unborn baby don’t close completely.
A baby can have a cleft lip, a cleft palate, or both.
Cleft lip and palate are among baby can have a cleft lip, a cleft palate, or both. The most commonly occur as isolated birth defects but are also associated with many inherited genetic conditions or syndromes.
Usually, a cleft in the lip or palate is immediately identifiable at birth. Cleft lip and cleft palate may appear as –
1* A split in the lip and roof of the mouth (palate) that affects one or both sides of the face
2* A split in the lip that appears as only a small notch in the lip or extends from the lip through the upper gum and palate into the bottom of the nose
3* A split in the roof of the mouth that doesn’t affect the appearance of the face
Less commonly, a cleft occurs in the muscles of the soft palate (submucous cleft palate), which are at the back of the mouth and covered by the mouths lining. This type may not be diagnosed until signs develop.
Signs and symptoms of submucous cleft palate may include-
1• Difficulty feedings
2• Difficulty swallowing
3• Nasal speaking voice
4• Chronic ear infections
In most cases, the cause of the cleft lip and cleft palate is unknown. These conditions cannot be prevented.
It is believed that clefts are due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
In addition to this, there appears to be a greater chance of clefting in a newborn if a sibling, parent, or relative has had the problem.
Another potential cause may be related to a medication that Another way has taken during their medication.
Last but not the least, some drugs such as anti-seizure, anticonvulsants, acne drugs, and methotrexate can also become the reason for cleft lip and cleft palate
Risk Factors –
Several factors may increase the chances of a baby to develop this defect which are as follows-
1. Family history
2. Having diabetes
3. Being obese during pregnancy
4. Exposure to certain substances during pregnancy such as cigarette smoking, drinking alcohol, or take certain medications.
Males are more likely to have a cleft lip with or without cleft palate whereas cleft palate without cleft lip is more common in females.
Children with cleft lip with or without cleft palate face a variety of challenges, depending on the type and severity of the cleft. Subsequently, the complications which come in the picture are as follows-
1. Difficulty feeding-
Most of the babies with cleft lips can breastfeed, while a cleft palate may make sucking difficult.
2. Ear infections and hearing loss-
Babies with cleft palate are especially at risk of developing middle ear fluid and hearing loss.
3. Speech difficulties –
Speech may sound too nasal.
4. Dental problems –
If the cleft extends through the upper gum, tooth development may be affected.
As clefting causes very obvious physical changes, a cleft lip or cleft palate is easy to diagnose.
Prenatal ultrasound can sometimes determine if a cleft exists in an unborn child.
If the clefting has not been detected in an ultrasound before a baby’s birth, definitely a physical exam of the mouth, nose, and palate confirms the presence of cleft lip or cleft palate after a child’s birth.
The goals of treatment for this defect are to improve the child’s ability to eat, speak and hear normally and to achieve a normal facial appearance.
Treatment involves surgery to repair the defect and therapies to improve any related conditions.
Surgery to correct it is based on your child’s particular situation.
Following the initial cleft repair, the doctor may recommend follow-up surgeries to improve speech or improve speech or improve the appearance of the lip and nose
Surgeries are performed in the following order-
1* Cleft lip repair- within the first 3 to 6 months of age
* Cleft palate repair – by the age of 12 months, or earlier if possible
3* Follow-up surgeries- between age 2 and late teen years
Surgery can significantly improve your child’s appearance, quality of life, and ability to eat, breathe and talk.