Cleft Lip & Cleft Palate

When you are forming in your mother’s womb, sometimes there is not enough tissue, or it does not join resulting in a cleft lip or cleft palate. These oral malformations can range from a small notch to a very large split. A cleft lip and palate surgery are performed to have as minimal scarring as possible. Recovery takes up to 4 weeks.

A cleft lip is when a notch is formed in a child’s lip that can sometimes run all the way up to the base of the nose. For the cleft lip surgery, the tissues are trimmed and the lip is sewn together. Generally, this procedure is completed when the child is 6-12 weeks old.

A cleft palate is when the child’s palate (roof of mouth) does not form because the tissue never connected. Cases run from minor to severe. During a cleft palate surgery tissue from the roof of the mouth may be moved over to cover the soft palate, and sometimes need more than one surgery to complete. This procedure is performed when the child is a bit older, generally 9-12 months old.