What is Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate?
In the development of an unborn child, the parts of the face that form the upper lip and the roof of the mouth (palate), grow and meet together in the middle. When this union does not occur, the child is born with an opening in the lip (cleft lip) or in the roof of the mouth (cleft palate). A cleft can occur in the lip and palate in the same individual.
Each year this defect occurs in one of every 700 births. In the United States alone, over a quarter million people have some form of cleft of the mouth or face. Fortunately, today's treatment procedures result in complete reconstruction of the defect and can help the patient born with a cleft lip or cleft palate lead a normal, healthy and productive life.
Other Common Malformations
Other anomalies dealt with by the Carle Cleft Lip and Palate Team include congenital or acquired facial and intra-oral defects such as facial clefts, abnormally-shaped ears, skull growth disturbances, asymmetry of facial bones, genetic syndromes which affect the head and/or neck, speech-language problems related to the velopharyngeal mechanisms, and hearing problems, There also may be nerve dysfunction, disturbances in breathing and feeding, and disturbances in psychosocial development related to self-image.