Fortunately, cleft lip and cleft palate are curable. Most babies born with the disease can have surgery to reconstruct their lips within the first 12 to 18 months after birth to correct the defect and significantly improve facial appearance.
Cleft lip and cleft palate disease
Cleft lip and cleft palate occur when the tissues of the baby's lips and/or palate do not develop with the development of the pregnancy. Children with cleft lip and cleft palate often do not have enough tissue in the mouth, and this tissue does not combine properly to form the roof of the mouth.
A cleft lip is a congenital malformation with a cleft on one or both sides of the midline of the upper lip. This occurs when the three masses of fetal tissue that make up the upper lip do not come together and are often associated with the cleft palate.
The cleft palate is the opening between the roof of the mouth and the nasal cavity. Some children with this condition have both anterior and posterior portions of the palate cleft, while others have only a partial cleft.
There are usually 3 different types of cleft lip and cleft palate:
- Cleft lip without cleft palate.
- Cleft palate without cleft lip.
- Cleft lip and cleft palate.
This cleft can occur on one side of the mouth (unilateral cleft) or on both sides of the mouth.
More boys have cleft lip than girls, while more girls have cleft palates than boys. Because it is a disease that causes distinctive visible signs, it is easy to diagnose. This disease can be detected by prenatal ultrasound. If cleft lip or cleft palate is not detected before the baby is born, it is also recognized soon after birth.
What causes cleft lip and cleft palate?
Doctors don't know the exact cause of a baby's cleft lip or cleft palate, but they believe it may be a combination of genetic (inherited) and environmental factors (such as taking medication). certain diseases, illness, women who smoke or drink during pregnancy, etc.). The child's risk of developing this condition is even higher if the child has a parent or sibling with cleft lip or a family history of the condition.
Diseases associated with cleft lip and cleft palate:
Children with cleft lip or cleft palate are more susceptible to other illnesses such as colds, deafness, and speech impairment. Dental diseases such as missing, excess, malformed, or messy teeth... also often occur in children born with cleft palate. Many children with cleft lip or cleft palate are particularly susceptible to ear infections.
Children with cleft lip or cleft palate also have many difficulties in eating and drinking. Bottles with special nipples can make feeding easier. In some cases, a child with a cleft lip or cleft palate may need a prosthetic palate to help them eat and drink.
Treatment of cleft lip and cleft palate
Currently, advanced medicine can effectively treat cleft lip and cleft palate. Plastic surgery can reconstruct a cleft lip and cleft palate.
Children with a cleft lip or cleft palate need to be considered by many different professionals working together to treat the condition. Treatment usually begins in the first few months after the baby is born, depending on the baby's health and cleft lip or palate.
People on the child's treatment team typically include geneticists, plastic surgeons, ENT specialists, oral surgeons, orthodontists, dentists, and therapists. speech therapists, audiologists, psychologists, and sociologists.
This team of experts will assess the child's normal development, examining the child's hearing, speech, nutrition, teeth, and emotional state. They will then share the information they know with the young parents. In addition, to treat the child, specialists will also work with the child on any difficulties in eating, speaking, social problems... They will advise the child's parents in the process. throughout the child's development and treatment.