Cleft lip is a congenital condition wherein the upper lip of a baby develops an opening or split that doesn’t close completely. It can occur on one or both sides of the face. A child with a cleft lip may also experience a cleft palate, wherein the roof of the mouth undergoes the same condition.
Clefts can cause various problems in the overall development of the child. Liquid foods will often be regurgitated out through the nose, while solid foods can get stuck in the nasal leading to odors caused by food decomposition. Children with clefts are also noticed to experience ear infections. Apart from this, clefts can also cause issues in the speech patterns. Hence, it is always advised to the deformity corrected as soon as possible, so as to ensure that the child experience little to no issues as he/she grows up.
Clefts are usually treated and corrected at the age of 3 months or older, provided the baby is health and fit. The best recommended age is not later than a year, as it would be harder to correct their established speech pattern any later than that. Once the corrective treatment is done, it is imperative to ensure that immediate aftercare is administered as corrections of the palate could hinder the breathing pattern for the during of the recovery.
For those with an alveolar or palatal cleft, bone grafting is also required to have the dentition to be aligned. This can be done from the age of 7 to 9 as well, after a period of orthodontic treatments. Some may also require an orthognathic surgery to realign the malocclusions in the jaw around the ages of 18-21. This can be considered if early orthodontic treatment fails to prevent adverse occlusion-related abnormalities.
One thing to note is that secondary corrections of residual nose deformities and revisions of the lip can lead to scars in some cases.
For a Cleft Lip and Palate Surgery in Singapore consult with Dr. Yeap, call +65 67340061.