Cleft Lip and Palate
A cleft is an opening in the lip and roof of the mouth that an infant is born with. Cleft lip and cleft palate are among the most common congenital defects in infants. The conditions may occur individually or together. Cleft lip and palate can cause problems with chewing, swallowing and speaking. The cleft can be corrected with plastic surgery. The aim of the surgery is to reconstruct the anatomy to allow for proper function of the mouth and restore an aesthetic appearance to the face. The surgical approach for cleft palate is highly customised to the child. The doctors need to consider the patient’s facial structure and extent of cleft while planning the treatment. Cleft lip is usually corrected in a cheiloplasty procedure. The Cleft palate is repaired using a palatoplasty procedure.
Apart from the clinical condition, it gives an immense pressure on the child’s parents and also peer pressure as the child grows. Well defined protocols are available for management of child with cleft. Cleft lip is usually operated around 10 weeks after birth and cleft palate at around one year of age. Multiple surgeries may be required at specified ages, to give the best possible result. Child may also require dental braces for teeth alignment.