Understanding Cleft Lip and Cleft Palates in Pediatric Patients

At Olack Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, our providers are here to help patients look and feel their best. When parents have a child that has been born with a cleft lip, cleft palate, or both, they can have their child treated with our team in Show Low, AZ.

What is cleft lip/cleft palate?

A cleft is defined as a split or gap. With these conditions, it may be noticed in the upper lip (cleft lip) or at the roof of the mouth (cleft palate). Sometimes a child will have both, and this can greatly impact not only their facial appearance, but their ability to properly:

  • Feed
  • Hear
  • Speak

Additionally, due to the improperly developed lip and palate, children who are born with these conditions may also experience dental problems, including an increased risk of cavities.

By treating a child with reconstructive surgery, parents can ensure their child has an improved quality of life, more aesthetic appearance, and greatly reduce the risks of poor feeding, hearing problems, and speech delays.

Why does my child have a cleft lip/cleft palate?

This condition is caused by structures that fail to form properly while developing in the womb. Scientists are unsure as to what specifically causes a child to develop this problem. However, there have been indications that may be linked to the condition, including:

  • Genetics/hereditary
  • Smoking during pregnancy
  • Alcohol use during pregnancy
  • Obesity during pregnancy
  • Lack of folic acid
  • Use of certain medications during pregnancy

Once the condition has been diagnosed, parents may bring their child in to a reconstructive surgeon to address the problem. Surgery is often simple and done during a single appointment within an hour or so with general anesthetics. Children are then evaluated regularly to ensure there are no delays in speech, hearing, or functionality.

Interested in speaking to a reconstructive surgeon regarding treatment for your child?

If your child is suffering from a cleft lip and/or palate, our team of providers encourages you to bring them in for an assessment to discuss reconstructive procedures to improve the function of their lips and mouth as well as their overall quality of life. Contact Olack Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in Show Low, AZ today at (928) 537-6767. The practice is conveniently located at 2450 East Show Low Lake Road, Ste. 2A.

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