A cleft palate is an opening between the roof of the mouth and the nasal cavity. The palate and the lip are independent and grow separately; however a combination of a cleft palate and a cleft lip can occur. The cleft lip appears as a narrow opening or gap in the skin of the upper lip that extends all the way to the base of the nose.
Both are birth defects caused in the formation period of the cranium, mouth and lips during fetal development. In both the cleft palate and the cleft lip, the opening may be on the left, the right or both sides. Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate Surgery is designed to close the gap in the palate or the lip and correct the shape and function of either or both. The objective of this procedure is to improve speech, nasal function, nursing and feeding, as well as the overall appearance.
Children between the ages of 9 and 18 months are good candidates. It is better to wait until your child is at an age where he or she can handle the intensity of an operation, as all surgical operations may place stress on the body and requires time to heal.
The first step is a detailed consultation with your surgeon who will determine the best method to achieving your desired end results. The surgeon makes an incision on both sides of the cleft, joining the muscle to the skin from the palate extensively all the way up to the nostril, if necessary. A second operation is typically not necessary. Cleft Lip/Cleft Palate repair is an inpatient procedure, which means that the patient stays in the hospital for a given amount of time. For this particular surgery, the patient will stay in the hospital for a total of about 7 days.
Average Duration of Surgery: 2 hours