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Cleft Lip & Palate

If You’re Considering Surgery to Correct Cleft Lip or Palate…

In the early weeks of development, long before a child is born, the right and left sides of the lip and the roof of the mouth normally grow together. Occasionally, however, in about one of every 800 babies, those sections don’t quite meet. A child born with a separation in the upper lip is said to have a cleft lip. A similar birth defect in the roof of the mouth, or palate, is called a cleft palate. Since the lip and the palate develop separately, it is possible for a child to have a cleft lip, a cleft palate, or variations of both.

A cleft lip is a separation of the upper lip that can extend into the nose.
When the roof of the mouth doesn’t grow together properly, the condition is called a cleft palate. To repair it, the surgeon will make an incision along both sides of the cleft.

 
If your child was born with either or both of these conditions, your doctor will probably recommend surgery to repair it. Medical professionals have made great advances in treating children with clefts and can do a lot to help your child lead a normal, healthy, happy life. The scar left after surgery will gradually fade with time.

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The Importance of a Team Approach

Children born with a cleft lip or palate may need the skills of several medical professionals to correct the problems associated with the cleft. In addition to needing plastic surgery to repair the opening, these children may have problems with their feeding and their teeth, their hearing, their speech, and their psychological development as they grow up.

For that reason, parents should seek the help of a Cleft Lip and Palate Team as early as possible. Medical professionals with special experience in the problems of cleft lip and palate have formed such teams all over the country to help parents plan for their child’s care from birth, or even before. Typically, a Cleft Team might include a plastic surgeon, a pediatrician, a dentist, a speech and language specialist, a social worker, a hearing specialist, an ear-nose-throat specialist, a psychologist, a nurse, and a genetic counselor.

All Surgery Carries Some Uncertainty and Risk

When surgery is done by a qualified plastic surgeon with experience such as Dr. Sasson in repairing cleft lip or palate, the results can be quite positive. Nevertheless, as with any operation, there are risks associated with surgery and specific complications associated with this procedure.

In cleft lip surgery, the most common problem is asymmetry, when one side of the mouth and nose does not match the other side. The goal of cleft lip surgery is to close the separation in the first operation. Occasionally, a second operation may be needed.

In cleft palate surgery, the goal is to close the opening in the roof of the mouth so the child can eat and learn to speak properly. Occasionally, poor healing in the palate or poor speech may require a second operation.

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A cleft lip is a separation of the upper lip that can extend into the nose.
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To repair a cleft lip, the surgeon will first make an incision on each side of the cleft from the lip to the nostril.
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A cleft lip is a separation of the upper lip that can extend into the nose.
cleft_lip-1
A cleft lip is a separation of the upper lip that can extend into the nose.
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When the roof of the mouth doesn’t grow together properly, the condition is called a cleft palate. To repair it, the surgeon will make an incision along both sides of the cleft.
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Tissue is drawn together from both sides of the cleft to rebuild the roof of the mouth.
To schedule a consultation or for more information on our services, write to us or call us!
516-487-5017
Great Neck, NY
212-249-0066
Manhattan, NY

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