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 in 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 both.

In some children, a cleft palate may involve only a tiny portion at the back of the roof of the mouth while for others it can mean a complete separation that extends from front to back.

Just as in cleft lip, cleft palate may appear on one or both sides of the upper mouth.

Repairing a cleft palate involves more extensive surgery and is usually done when the child is nine to 18 months old, so the baby is bigger and better able to tolerate the surgery.

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 in 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 both.

In some children, a cleft palate may involve only a tiny portion at the back of the roof of the mouth while for others it can mean a complete separation that extends from front to back.

Just as in cleft lip, cleft palate may appear on one or both sides of the upper mouth.

Repairing a cleft palate involves more extensive surgery and is usually done when the child is nine to 18 months old, so the baby is bigger and better able to tolerate the surgery.

 

Children born with a cleft lip or palate will need the skills of several medical professionals to correct the problems associated with the cleft. In addition to needing Plastic Surgery to repair the cleft 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 to help parents plan for their child's care from birth, or even before. Contact details

Children born with a cleft lip or palate will need the skills of several medical professionals to correct the problems associated with the cleft. In addition to needing Plastic Surgery to repair the cleft 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 to help parents plan for their child's care from birth, or even before. Contact details

 

To repair a cleft palate, Dr Broadhurst will make an incision on both sides of the separation, moving tissue from each side of the cleft to the centre or midline of the roof of the mouth. This rebuilds the palate, joining muscle together and provides enough length in the palate so the child can eat and drink without food or fluid coming out the mouth, and learn to speak properly.

To repair a cleft palate, Dr Broadhurst will make an incision on both sides of the separation, moving tissue from each side of the cleft to the centre or midline of the roof of the mouth. This rebuilds the palate, joining muscle together and provides enough length in the palate so the child can eat and drink without food or fluid coming out the mouth, and learn to speak properly.

 

There are risks involved with any operation and these include the anaesthetic and the operation itself. If your child is fit and healthy then the risk of complications is generally very low and Dr Broadhurst will discuss all risks with you prior to your child’s surgery.

There are risks involved with any operation and these include the anaesthetic and the operation itself. If your child is fit and healthy then the risk of complications is generally very low and Dr Broadhurst will discuss all risks with you prior to your child’s surgery.

 

For a day or two your child will probably feel some soreness and pain which is easily controlled by medication. During this period, you child will not eat or drink as much as usual so an intravenous line will be used to maintain fluid levels. Elbow restraints will be used to prevent your baby from rubbing the repaired area. Dr Broadhurst will advise you on how to feed your child during the first few weeks after surgery and it's crucial that you follow his advice on feeding to allow the palate to heal properly.

For a day or two your child will probably feel some soreness and pain which is easily controlled by medication. During this period, you child will not eat or drink as much as usual so an intravenous line will be used to maintain fluid levels. Elbow restraints will be used to prevent your baby from rubbing the repaired area. Dr Broadhurst will advise you on how to feed your child during the first few weeks after surgery and it's crucial that you follow his advice on feeding to allow the palate to heal properly.

 

Children with a cleft palate are particularly prone to ear infections because the cleft can interfere with the function of the middle ear. To permit proper drainage and air circulation, the ear-nose-and-throat surgeon on the Cleft Palate Team may recommend that a small plastic ventilation tube be inserted in the eardrum. This relatively minor operation may be done at the time of the cleft repair. In addition, surgery may be recommended by your plastic surgeon when your child is older to refine the shape and function of the lip, nose, gums, and palate.

You'll want to discuss further needs with the members of the Cleft Team seeing your child.

Children with a cleft palate are particularly prone to ear infections because the cleft can interfere with the function of the middle ear. To permit proper drainage and air circulation, the ear-nose-and-throat surgeon on the Cleft Palate Team may recommend that a small plastic ventilation tube be inserted in the eardrum. This relatively minor operation may be done at the time of the cleft repair. In addition, surgery may be recommended by your plastic surgeon when your child is older to refine the shape and function of the lip, nose, gums, and palate.

You'll want to discuss further needs with the members of the Cleft Team seeing your child.