Cleft lip and palate
Even though facial deformities associated with palate problems are very common in children, these can be easily treated with a group of doctors by your side. Parents are usually very worried about various issues arising from these palate problems. But like many other hereditary defects, if treated soon enough, these also can be treated successfully.
Understanding the Causes
Generally, a cleft lip and palate is formed due to the inability of the tissues forming the face to blend with each other correctly. These clefts tend to be different in each child. There are mainly two types of clefts generally observed. They are unilateral and bilateral clefts. Unilateral clefts mean that the tissue hasn't formed correctly or is defective only on one side of the face.
On the other hand, bilateral clefts affect both sides of the upper lip. There are two possibilities in this case too. They can be either a complete cleft or an incomplete, partial cleft. If the gap reaches up into the nostril, it is called a complete cleft and if it just affects the lip, it is called a partial or incomplete cleft. Also, there are cases in which children have microform clefts from birth. These are small dents, and get partially fixed in the womb itself. It is also observed that palate problems also occur along with cleft problems. Palate problems are generally observed only once in every 700 births. There will be an opening in the upper side of the mouth in cleft palate where the soft and hard palates did not fuse together.
Even though this condition is a bit more serious than cleft lip, proper treatment will usually cure these completely and will improve your baby's quality of life. Also, note that this is not just a cosmetic issue. Of course, cosmetic treatments will improve the natural look of your face to a great deal. But more than that, if you don’t opt for the treatment, your child will have to face serious problems like breathing, speaking and eating problems. So, without doubt, these problems should be treated as soon as possible.
Till now, the cause of this deformity is not known to us though the statistics show that 1 out of 14 children whose parents were born with it also have a chance to suffer with the same.
Apart from this, environment factors are also found to influence these deformalities. Even though you can’t prevent cleft lip from happening, as a mother, you can incorporate healthy habits into your life which will certainly decrease the chances of these conditions to occur in your baby. If you are a mother who smokes, use drugs, or drink alcohol during pregnancy, keep in mind that you are increasing your child's chance of getting a cleft lip.
In addition to all these, exposure to pesticides, lead, and other dangerous substances also increase the possibility of having a cleft lip in the baby.
So, what are the proper treatments for cleft lips? The most common way out of this condition is to perform a surgery as early as possible after the birth of the baby. Usually doctors wait for the baby to be at least ten-week old or until he or she will weigh at least ten pounds so that the complications possible due to such a surgery can be minimized.
What doctors do during the reconstruction surgery of cleft lip is to place a tiny prosthesis in the mouth to cover the hole. When the baby gets around 1 year old, the surgery for palate repair can also be done. It’s observed that children with these problems typically need more care throughout their life to help fix them. Bone grafts also might be needed to fix the skull during the surgery and chances of orthodontic problems to occur is also there. They will also need help with development of speaking skills. Many people opt for more cosmetic surgery in future to improve the appearance of the lip area. In short, this is not a temporary problem we can forget once the surgery is over, but something you will have to deal with for the rest of your life.
The good news is that, these problems are not life threatening and can be fixed with proper treatment.
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