Cleft lip and cleft palate are conditions that can impact many newborn babies. This birth defect occurs when the lip and/or mouth does not properly form during a woman’s pregnancy. It can result in a deformity that causes openings or unwanted splits in the roof of the mouth and the lip. These defects are commonly referred to as “orofacial clefts.” Thousands of babies are born with a cleft lip or cleft palate deformity, some with both and others with isolated orofacial clefts. The condition can often occur without other major birth defects. Fortunately, with continued advances in reconstructive surgeries, babies can undergo a simple plastic surgery procedure to help repair the area and give the child a more natural appearance.
What you need to know about orofacial clefts
Studies and research are still underway to determine what causes the development of orofacial clefts. While there seems to be a combination of genes and environmental causes, the Center for Disease Control is still unable to pinpoint the exact reasoning why this birth defect occurs. They have found, however, that there are certain factors that can increase the risk of a woman birthing a baby with cleft lip and/or cleft palate, including:
- Smoking cigarettes
- Diabetes prior to pregnancy
- The use of certain medications
How is this condition diagnosed?
A physical examination is the fastest way to diagnose a baby with an orofacial cleft. The baby may also be diagnosed while in the womb with a routine ultrasound. In some cases, with specialized types of cleft palate, including bifid uvula and submucous cleft palate, the condition may not be diagnosed until the child is older due to complications from this condition.
Treatment for orofacial clefts
The best treatment for cleft lip and cleft palate is a reconstructive surgical procedure to help restore the palate and lip. Not only is this done for cosmetic purposes before the child is a year old, it may also improve other problems that may coexist, including hearing, speech, and breathing issues.
Schedule a visit to Olack Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery today
Show Low, AZ patients seeking providers that offer a wide range of general, cosmetic, and reconstructive surgery solutions for the face and body are invited to connect with our team by calling (928) 537-6767.