Unilateral complete wide left cleft lip, alveolus and palate
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. The exact precise reason is still unknown but various reasons from the maternal health to genetics play a very major role. In certain communities, consanguinity also is a reason.
Can it be prevented?
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 the matter or research and maybe one day not far away, this can be totally prevented.
When is the best time for treatment?
Surgery is the only treatment initially. Various protocols are followed by various centers across the world. We, here at Richardsons Craniofacial Hospital are following the well-documented protocol which is :
- Cleft lip repair @ 5 kgs body weight
- Cleft palate repair @ 10 months age
- Cleft Alveolus Repair @ 7 years or so
- Orthodontics @ 12 years or so
- Speech therapy @ 3 years if needed
- Anterior Maxillary Distraction @ 11 years if needed
- Rhinoplasty @ 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 good experienced team approach is the answer, which is what we have @ Richardsons