Mother with child who has cleft lip and cleft palate

Very early in pregnancy, some babies develop a cosmetic condition known as a cleft lip, many times accompanied by cleft palate. However, these birth defects can have a considerable effect on your child’s health. Luckily, there are treatment options available at CEENTA.

What is a cleft lip and cleft palate?

A cleft lip is an opening or slit in the upper lip, while a cleft palate is an opening at the roof of the mouth. During pregnancy, these conditions can occur when mouth and facial tissues do not fuse correctly. It’s speculated that cleft lip and palate are genetic conditions, though an exact cause is still to be determined.

What health concerns can cleft lip and palate cause?

These conditions are more than just aesthetic abnormalities and can cause specific health concerns with your child. These include:

  • Speech difficulties
  • Limited breastfeeding ability
  • Uneven tooth development
  • Ear infections
  • Social and emotional stress

Dr. Jewel Greywoode, a CEENTA facial plastic surgeon at our Uptown office, describes his experience with treating these conditions. “As a facial plastic surgeon and otolaryngologist, I enjoy being a part of the treatment process for individuals with a cleft lip and/or palate. From the repair of both cleft lips and palates to managing the health of the ear, surgery for speech problems and cosmetic rhinoplasty, it is a privilege to be involved in all aspects of the care of my patients from birth to adulthood.

What treatment options are available for cleft lip and cleft palate?

Treatment of cleft lip and palate, it requires a multi-disciplinary team approach because of the many ways having a cleft lip and/or palate can affect your child. The team will include your pediatriction, dentist, speech therapist, surgeon who can repair the cleft, otolaryngologist (ENT) and sometimes a geneticist. Your pediatrician can examine the conditions and provide recommendations based on the child’s current stage of development. Surgical correction of the lip would be done by a surgeon, where the two sides of the lip joined together leaving a residual scar that gradually fades. Follow-up appointments with a dentist and speech pathologist are recommended to ensure that proper dental and speech development can continue.

Discovering that your child has a cleft lip or cleft palate may be concerning at first, but these conditions can be treated at CEENTA. Our team of fellowship trained facial plastic specialists are board certified in both otolaryngology and facial plastic and reconstructive surgery , making them the ideal addition to your team of experts caring for your child’s needs. Schedule your child’s cleft lip and palate appointment with a CEENTA facial plastic surgeon today to learn more about your treatment options.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. New patients can make appointments online with our doctors in North and South Carolina. Current patients can also make appointments through myCEENTAchart with physicians they have already seen.


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