A Cleft Lip Is No Longer Fate
In the formation of cleft lip or cleft palate, the cause often cannot be found definitively. However, medications taken during pregnancy, X-rays, stress, traumas such as falling down the stairs or some viral diseases suffered, deficiency or excess of certain vitamins have been blamed. In addition, there is a possibility of passing the disease by heredity. Clefts of the lip and palate can be seen once in 700-1000 births.

Do children with cleft lip-palate have any other problems?
In most children with cleft lip or cleft palate, no other congenital defect or anomaly is detected. Most of the patients are normal in terms of intelligence and ability. In children with cleft, there is an increased risk of fluid collection in the middle ear – serous otitis media. If left untreated, it can cause ear infections and ultimately hearing loss. Most children with cleft teeth may have dental abnormalities – such as crooked teeth, missing or excess teeth.

What is the treatment for cleft lip and palate?
Children with cleft may benefit from a specialized teamwork. The cleft team consists of plastic surgeon, otolaryngologist, pediatrician, maxillofacial surgeon, geneticist, dentist, phoniatrist, pathologist, audiologist, nurse and psychologist. This team works together with the patient’s own pediatrician to give the best care.

When the baby is 6-10 weeks old, the cleft lip is operated on. The baby reaches a certain weight that cannot be damaged by anesthesia (4.5 kg.) for this period of time is expected. Cleft palate surgery, on the other hand, is performed according to the degree of cleft in a 6-18 month cycle. Scar tissue formed due to surgery on the palate that was operated on early can negatively affect the development of the upper jaw and face. If it is operated later, this time the child learns to speak with a cleft palate, and after the palate is repaired, speech becomes difficult to recover.

What is the Appropriate Age for Cleft Palate Surgery?
The exact age for surgical repair depends on the child’s health, size, and the surgeon’s preference. Some children with cleft palate may need a second palate surgery to get better results. In children with a cleft in the tooth line, it may be useful to place a bone fragment (graft) on the cleft line during surgery. This is called an alveolar bone graft. This part makes the permanent teeth come better. This surgery is performed between the ages of 6 and 10 by Deciphering the rate of development of permanent teeth.

In children with cleft lips, additional surgery may be required at an older age to correct the scars (scars) left after surgery on the lip. Oct. Children between the ages of ten and 20 may need a nose job to restore breathing or appearance. Dec. Especially in children with bilateral lip cleft, if the part between both nostrils, called the columella, is short, extension surgery is performed around the age of 6 before starting school Dec. Lip cleft surgery is also performed to correct cartilage and soft tissue deformities at the tip of the nose (this is called cleft-lip nose) after completing the development of the nose around the age of 18 after the adolescence period. It is preferable to perform this surgery with open rhinoplasty, where the cartilage structures can be shaped better.