What is a cleft lip and how can it be treated?

A cleft lip is a split in the upper lip that is often associated with a cleft palate, which is a split on the roof of the mouth. A cleft lip and palate occurs when there is not enough tissue in the mouth or lip; what is there doesn’t join together properly, resulting in the defect. A cleft lip and palate can present together or one without the other, since the areas develop separately. A cleft lip and palate is actually the fourth most common birth defect in the United States; diagnosing these problems is fairly easy, considering it’s a physical deformity that is usually present at birth. It can also be detected during the pregnancy,  at  the 18th week and beyond.

A cleft lip repair on it’s own is done surgically, as is a cleft palate. Cleft lip repair specifically is performed when the patient is still young; they will heal better and the lip won’t be a problem going forward. A cleft lip surgery will be performed first, and then the palate will be repaired a few months later. Without getting the surgery right away, a cleft lip can inhibit functionality talking and feeding, as well as create additional dental problems. Chronic ear infections, speech problems, and hearing loss are also complications caused by a cleft lip. Treatment aside, the cleft lip can also be a source of embarrassment, leading to social and emotional problems as the patient gets older. 

Cleft lip oral surgery involves fusing the opening in the upper lip. There are different variations of the surgery, depending on the nature of the condition and surgeon performing the procedure. An East Manhattan oral surgeon will personally see each and every patient, so as to familiarize himself with the particulars of each case before the cleft lip surgery. Then, he will know what type of surgery is required and will be able to prepare you for it, either as the patient or parents/guardians of the patient. Meeting with an Upper East Side oral surgeon will help you feel better about the operation; these surgeons are considered among the best in the business and know how to put you at ease.

Effective cleft lip treatment will provide you with full functionality of the mouth tissues, so a patient can eat, speak, and breathe normally. Whether you have a cleft lip and palate yourself or you are looking for an East Manhattan oral surgeon on behalf of your child, schedule a consultation today to find out more about cleft lip repair procedures.