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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.