A very common birth defect, a cleft lip occurs when the soft tissue of the face and mouth do not fuse together correctly. The cleft lip often coincides with a cleft palate as well. In severe cases, the opening or rift can extend upward from the lip toward the nose. These can complicate things for the children causing problems with speech, facial appearance, suckling and increase the potential for deafness and even psychological issues. Thankfully, there is corrective surgery available that can restore full functionality and improve the patient's outward appearance. It is perfectly natural for parents to be worried about their child, particularly those with a cleft lip.
Treatment and Corrective Surgery
The good news is there is treatment available. The surgery used to correct a cleft lip is known as a cheiloplasty. This is done under general anesthesia when the baby is typically around three months old. The outcome of the surgery is closing the cleft and improving the symmetry of the child's face, nose, and upper lip.
It is important to have the surgery as early as possible. Untreated cleft lips can lead to more common ear infections, speech problems, and oral infections. In some circumstances, children may require additional surgeries if the cleft is a particularly serious one. Speech surgery may be used to correct developmental issues following the cheiloplasty.
An alveolar bone graft may be needed to repair gums, so the permanent teeth have proper supportive tissue. This usually occurs when the children are between seven and nine years old.
Nose surgery might be needed when the cleft is serious enough to reach the nasal cavity. These are done to help shape the nostrils and nose during childhood. Come see us today to get more information regarding your childes cleft Lip. We can help restore their mouth functionality.
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