Cleft lip and palate – Treatment of Cleft lip and palate
Cleft lip and palate are congenital anomalies that affect the roof of the mouth extending to the upper lip. The figure below can show you a child with cleft lip and palate. In this article, we shall know how this condition is treated.
Description of Cleft Lip and Palate
A cleft lip may be as small as just a notch in the lip or it may be severe as a complete split in the lip that goes all the way to the base of the nose. Similarly, a cleft palate can be on one or both sides of the mouth’s roof that may be a small notch or severe going to the full length of the palate.
The child may have one or more of the above conditions at the time of birth. It is presented as misaligned teeth and change in the nose shape.
Cleft lip and palate is quantified by physical examination of the nose, mouth and palate. Some more medical tests may be done to check and rule out other health conditions.
Treatment: Cleft and palate repair
is the only way out to repair the cleft lip and palate. The repair is done only when the child is mature enough. For the cleft lip repair the child should be minimum of
6 to 12 weeks
old and for the cleft palate repair the child should be minimum of
9 months to 1 year old.
For cleft repair surgery, the child is given
in sleeping condition and not feeling pain. The surgeon repairs the cleft by first trimming the surrounding tissues and then he sews the lip together. An experienced surgeon will stitch it very small so that the scar is as small as possible. The stitches get absorbed into the tissues while healing.
For cleft palate surgery also the child is given general anesthesia. Tissue from the roof of the mouth is changed or moved to cover the soft palate. In some cases the child’s nose may also need a repair. The repair takes several steps to complete. The child may need more than one surgery for complete repair of the palate.
Cleft lip and palate condition are usually repaired within the 1st year of the child so that the child has normal development of speech. Until then a prosthetic device is temporarily used to so that the child is fed properly.