How common is cleft lip or palate deformity?

A cleft lip or cleft palate occurs approximately 1 in 900 births. However, if you are a parent who has a cleft, there is a 1 in 25 chance that your baby will have a cleft lip or cleft palate.

What is the cause?

It is an incomplete fusion of tissues that make up the lip or the palate. This occurs during the first trimester of fetal development. The exact cause is unknown.

What are the affects of having a cleft palate?

Babies with cleft palate cannot create suction. Feeding is difficult and breast feeding impossible. Special bottles are required to feed the baby. Palate repair is done at 12 to 18 months of age, so that as they develop speech habits, they can train their speech with a repaired palate. Patients with cleft palate usually require speech therapy as they grow. If the cleft involves the gums, some patients will require a bone graft at about age seven to help the growth of permanent teeth. Orthodontics is often required after permanent teeth come in.

How is a cleft lip repaired?

Cleft lip repair is an operation performed by plastic surgeons. It involves rearranging the existing tissues of the lip to create a normal appearance. Plastic surgeons have developed these techniques over many years. It is important to find a plastic surgeon with experience in cleft lip and palate surgery and who works with a cleft team including a speech therapist and an orthodontist.

What is recovery like after surgey?

After palate surgery, patients stay on a liquid or soft diet for two weeks. Cleft palate patients stay overnight in the hospital.

Does insurance cover this?

Insurance does cover this.



Ahwatukee Foothills Plastic Surgery

Dr. Todd K. Farnworth, MD

15810 W. 45th St. Suite 140

Phoenix, AZ 85048

480-759-3001

drfarnworth.com

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