Why are kids born with cleft lip and palate?
Cleft lip and cleft palate is a congenital deformity that roughly affects one in 800 live births. Though the precise reason is still unknown, various factors ranging from maternal health to genetics play a vital role. In certain communities, consanguinity can also be a reason.
Various studies have proven, especially those that have come out of South America, that folic acid if given preconception has shown some promise in reducing the incidence of cleft lip and palate. However, this is still something on research. We hope that the day when this can be totally prevented is not too far.
When is the best time for treatment?
Though, surgery is the only treatment, initially, various centers across the world follow different protocols. We, here at Richardsons Craniofacial Hospital follow a well-documented protocol which is :
- At 5 kgs body weight, we do Cleft lip repair.
- When the child is around 10 months of age, we do Cleft palate repair.
- Only at 7 years or above we perform Cleft Alveolus Repair.
- Orthodontics at 12 years or so.
- Speech therapy at 3 years, if needed.
- Anterior Maxillary Distraction at 11 years, if needed.
- Rhinoplasty at 11 years and above, if needed.
Why do some patients speak well after cleft palate repair and others don’t?
The critical aspect of speech after cleft palate repair is the capability and experience of the surgical team. Having the right protocol and the right set up is obviously needed as well. Moreover, a good speech pathologist is a must as speech issues if diagnosed very early, can be corrected sooner too.
“Therefore the take-home message is: a well-experienced team approach is the answer, which is what we have at Richardson Dental and Craniofacial Hospital”