TREATMENT OF CLEFT LIP AND CLEFT PALATE :
A cleft lip is a physical split or separation of the two sides of the upper lip and appears as a narrow opening or gap in the skin of the upper lip. This separation often extends beyond the base of the nose and includes the bones of the upper jaw and/or upper gum.
A cleft palate is a split or opening in the roof of the mouth. A cleft palate can involve the hard palate (the bony front portion of the roof of the mouth), and/or the soft palate (the soft back portion of the roof of the mouth).
TREATMENT AND SURGERIES :
Surgeries typically are performed in this order:
Cleft lip repair — within the first 12 months of age
Cleft palate repair — by the age of 18 months, or earlier if possible
Follow-up surgeries — between age 2 and late teen years
Cleft lip and palate surgery takes place in a hospital.
In general, procedures may include:
- Cleft lip repair.
To close the separation in the lip, the surgeon makes incisions on both sides of the cleft and creates flaps of tissue. The flaps are then stitched together. The repair should create a more normal lip appearance, structure and function. Initial nasal repair, if needed, is usually done at the same time.
- Cleft palate repair.
Various procedures may be used to close the separation and rebuild the roof of the mouth (hard and soft palate), depending on your child’s situation. The surgeon makes incisions on both sides of the cleft and repositions the tissue and muscles. The repair is then stitched closed.
- Ear tube surgery. For children with cleft palate, ear tubes may be placed, typically at 6 months of age, to reduce the risk of chronic ear fluid, which can lead to hearing loss. Ear tube surgery involves placing tiny bobbin-shaped tubes in the eardrum to create an opening to prevent fluid buildup.
Surgery to reconstruct appearance. Additional surgeries may be needed to improve the appearance of the mouth, lip and nose.
Surgery can significantly improve your child’s appearance, quality of life, and ability to eat, breathe and talk. Possible risks of surgery include bleeding, infection, poor healing, puckering of scars, and temporary or permanent damage to nerves, blood vessels or other structures.