What is Cleft Lip and Palate Surgery?

A cleft lip or palate is a birth defect that causes an opening in a child’s upper lip or the roof of their mouth. When a child has a cleft lip the opening is in the upper lip. With a cleft palate the opening is in the roof of their mouth connecting the nose and mouth. Both conditions can also occur together, when the opening in the lip extends to the opening in the palate. 

There are two types of cleft, unilateral which occurs on one side of the lip or palate, or bilateral which occurs on both sides. Cleft lip and palate surgery is a procedure aimed at repairing the opening. This can help with preventing issues associated with the condition and improving the symmetry of the lip and nose. 

Why is Cleft Lip and Palate Surgery Needed?

For children with a cleft lip or palate, many problems can arise as a result of the condition. A cleft lip or palate can result in issues with speech development, feeding, hearing loss, growth, and development. Additionally, it can lead to ear infections, dental problems, and other health issues resulting from the abnormalities in the mouth and nose. With surgery, the opening can be repaired, preventing a lot of the problems that are associated with the condition.

Who is a candidate for Cleft Lip and Palate Surgery?

When a baby is born with a cleft lip or palate, it is best to have the abnormality repaired while they are young. Cleft lip surgery is often done when the child is between 2 and 6 months. Cleft palate surgery is done between 9 and 12 months. This allows the child to grow and develop with minimal issues associated with abnormality and can help prevent speech issues associated with the condition.

If your child needs cleft lip or palate surgery, our team at Maryland Oral Surgery Associates will work with you to determine the best time for your child to have their surgery, ensuring the best results possible.

What happens during the procedure for Cleft Lip and Palate Surgery?

The procedure will be done while your child is under general anesthesia, ensuring they remain comfortable during treatment. For a cleft lip repair, the surgeon makes a cut in the upper lip on either side of the cleft. The tissues on either side of the cleft are drawn together and sutured together to close the separation. The stitches are placed on the normal contours of the lip, preventing significant visible scarring.

If you think you might need cleft lip and palate surgery, contact one of our 8 locations today and we will be happy to further assist you.

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