Cleft palate Surgery
Cleft palate Surgery
Cleft lip and cleft palate are generally openings in the upper lip which is the roof of the mouth or both. They mainly occur when facial structures which are developing in an unborn baby don't close completely. Cleft lip and palate being among the most common birth defects among babies can usually be corrected with a series of surgeries in order to restore the normal function as well as achieve a normal appearance that has minimal scarring in the faces of babies. They are also associated with inherited genetic conditions in babies or as syndromes.
These are generally the common symptoms of soft cleft palate in babies which happens as a birth defect:
- A split in the roof of the mouth (palate) as well as in the lip which normally affects one or both sides of the face of the babies
- An opening that appears as a small notch in the lip or extends through the upper gum from the lip as well as the palate towards the bottom of the nose
- An opening in palate area of face which doesn’t affect the appearance of the face
However, a different type of cleft palate and cleft lip which usually occurs in the muscles of the soft palate called ‘Submucous Cleft Palate’ often goes unnoticed mainly at birth and may not be identified until signs and symptoms arise later. Few of the symptoms of submucous cleft palate include:
- Nasal speaking voice
- Difficulty with feedings
- Difficulty in swallowing especially potential liquids and foods that come out of the nose
- Chronic ear infections and hearing loss
- Speech difficulties
- Dental problems
What causes cleft lip and cleft palate?
Though, a definite cause isn’t discovered yet research still shows that most of the cleft lip and palate cases especially sub mucosal cleft palate and tessier cleft palate are caused due to:
- An interaction of genetic and environmental factors
- Parents (mother or father) passing on genes that causes clefting as part of genetic syndrome or alone
- Babies inheriting the gene which makes them develop cleft lip and palate
- Environmental trigger causing the cleft to occur
- Exposure to certain substances in women during pregnancy
- Having diabetes
- Obesity during pregnancy
- Family history
More about Treatment
Cleft Palate Diagnosis and Treatment:
Due to the number of oral health as well as medical problems that arise with the soft cleft palate in a baby, a team of doctors and specialists such as plastic surgeons usually works together to develop a medical treatment plan for the kid’s cleft lip repair surgery.
Prior to the treatment:
- Doctors usually suggests for a prenatal ultrasound in order to diagnose the most clefts of the lip
- If in case, cleft lip and cleft palate were not detected during the ultrasound, a physical examination of the mouth, palate and nose can help in diagnosing the palate after child’s birth
During the treatment:
Mostly, the treatment requires one or two cleft lip surgeries based on the width and extent of the cleft and is usually performed by the time a baby is 3 months old. These are the procedures that happen during the cleft lip repair surgery:
- The child undergoing cleft palate surgery will be put under general anesthesia
- Surgeon will use tissue as well as skin from both sides of the soft cleft palate to make the lip wider in order to close the gap
- Doctor then performs a lip-taping regiment to narrow the gap in the cleft lip
- To help form the correct shape of baby’s nose, a nasal elevator is used
- To help mold the lip tissues for cleft lip repair, a nasal-alveolar molding (NAM) is used
- Special tubes are placed in the eardrums to aid fluid drainage and reduce the chance of fluid developing in the middle ears of babies.
Prognosis, Post-treatment and Recovery:
- The child with the defect is communicated with openly in order to build their self-esteem
- Speech of kids after cleft lip surgery are assessed between ages 4 and 5 with the speech pathologist and mostly a surgery is suggested if the kid has speech disability at the age of 5
- To stabilize and support the permanent teeth and upper jaw doctors may suggest a bone graft at around 6 - 10 years.
- Additional surgeries maybe performed later during the age in order to improve the appearance of the lip as well as nose of the kid
- Regular hearing tests to be performed
Can cleft lip and cleft palate be prevented?
Though most of the cleft lip and cleft palate can’t be prevented, these are the following steps to be considered to improve your understanding as well as lower the risk:
- Genetic Counselling: Doctor may suggest a genetic counselor in order to help determine the risk of children having cleft lip and cleft palate before getting pregnant, in case if there is someone in the family with a history of the defect
- Take Prenatal Vitamins: Doctor may suggest the woman to take prenatal vitamins if planning for a pregnancy
- Refrain using tobacco and alcohol: Usage of tobacco and alcohol will be asked to stop by the doctor
1. What is Tessier Cleft Lip and Palate?
Tessier cleft lip and palate are a series of severe facial clefts which involve more than just the lip and the upper jaw causing malformations to structures that includes the teeth, the tear ducts and eye orbits.
2. What is a bilateral cleft lip and palate?
A bilateral cleft lip and palate usually appears as small notches towards the edges of the lip only or either they extend into the nose or gums.
3. What are the types of cleft palate?
Few of the common types of cleft palate are incomplete cleft palate, complete cleft palate and submucous cleft palate
4. What is a unilateral cleft lip and palate?
Unilateral cleft lip and palate is a defect that involves the lip, nose and the maxilla.
5. How much does cleft palate surgery cost?
The reconstructive surgery procedure usually depends on the area of origin of the patient, doctor’s expertise level. However, an health insurance plan can usually cover the cleft palate surgery costs since it is a reconstructive procedure.
6. What are the cleft palate surgery complications?
Few of the common complications of cleft palate repair surgery are fistulae, velopharyngeal insufficiency as well as detrimental effect on the maxillary growth in the child.
7. What causes cleft palate? Is cleft palate hereditary?
A definite cause isn’t discovered yet research still shows that most of the cleft lip and palate cases especially sub mucosal cleft palate and tessier cleft palate are caused due to: An interaction of genetic and environmental factors or parents (mother’s or father’s) passing on genes that causes clefting as part of genetic syndrome or alone
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