What is a cleft lip and cleft palate?

Cleft lip and cleft palate, also known as orofacial cleft, is a group of conditions that includes cleft lip, cleft palate and both together.. A cleft lip contains an opening in the upper lip that may extend into the nose. The opening may be on one side, both sides, or in the middle. A cleft palate is when the roof of the mouth contains an opening into the nose.

Cleft lip and palate are the result of tissues of the face not joining properly during development. As such, they are a type of birth defect. The cause is unknown in most cases.

A cleft lip or palate can be successfully treated with surgery. This is often done in the first few months of life for cleft lip and before eighteen months for cleft palate. Speech therapy and dental care may also be needed. With appropriate treatment and properly skilled surgeons, outcomes are excellent.

Cleft lip and palate occurs in about 1 to 2 per 1000 births in the developed world. Cleft lip is about twice as common in males as females, while Cleft palate without cleft kip is more common in females.

Operation of Hope vows that all individuals are treated pro bono. Our team of skilled surgeons and specialists have been fortunate to impact the lives of many with life changing results.

In 2013, it resulted in about 3,300 deaths globally, down from 7,600 deaths in 1990. The condition was formerly known as a "hare-lip" because of its resemblance to a hare or rabbit, but that term is now generally considered to be offensive.

What are cleft lip and cleft palate in children?

Cleft lip and palate are openings or splits in the upper lip or roof of the mouth (palate). A child can be born with a cleft lip, cleft palate, or both. Cleft lip and palate may be the only birth defects, or they may happen with other defects.

A cleft lip may be as mild as a notch of the lip. Or it may be as severe as a large opening from the lip to the nose.

A cleft palate may leave an opening that goes into the nasal cavity. Cleft palate is not as noticeable as cleft lip because it is inside the mouth.

What causes cleft lip and palate in a child?

Cleft lip and palate happen when a baby develops in the womb. Researchers don't know the exact cause of cleft lip and palate. It can be caused by genes passed on from parents, as well as environmental factors. Environmental factors include taking certain medicines during pregnancy, smoking or drinking alcohol during pregnancy.

How are cleft lip and palate treated in a child by Operation of Hope

Both cleft lip and palate can be fixed with surgery.

Surgery for cleft lip is usually done when the baby is at least 8 months old and weighs at least 10 pounds.

The first surgery for cleft palate is usually done between 18-24 months old.