A cleft lip or a cleft palate is a birth defect.
A cleft lip can be a small notch in the lip or a complete tear upto base of the nose.
A cleft of palate can be on one side only or on both sides of the mouth’s roof. It can stretch to the full length of the palate.
The cleft lip repair surgery is done when the child is 6-12 weeks old.
But, the cleft palate repair is performed later when the child is around 10 months. This allows the palate to change as the baby grows. Any defect occurring to the palate should be repaired.
For the cleft lip surgical procedure, the child is given a general anesthesia. Defective lip tissue is trimmed, reoriented into anatomical position and repaired to achieve normal looking lip. The stitches and the scar are not easily noticeable. And the stitches absorb into the tissue as the scar heals.
The palate is also repaired similarly as the cleft lip repair. The tissue from the roof of the mouth is moved over to cover the palatal defect. It is also recommended to undergo additional surgery wherein the tip of the nose is repaired.
The complete recovery period is 7-8 weeks and the patient has to stay in the hospital for a period of 2-3 days.
Liquid diet is recommended until wounds are healed.
Advantages of the Cleft / Palate Repair
Early surgery is necessary to ensure that the child has a happy childhood and grows up without any complexes.
The child develops normal speech, does not suffer from ear infection/ feeding difficulties/bad breath if repair is performed at optimum timing.