What is Cleft Lip and/or Palate?
- A cleft occurs during fetal development when certain parts and structures do not fuse together. Clefts can include the lip and/or palate which can involve the hard and soft palates (roof of the mouth).
What’s the incidence?
- Cleft lip and/or palate is one of the most common anomalies around the planet affecting 1 in 700 babies born. Research has shown that there is a higher incidence in Asia; approximately 1 in 500 and a lower incidence in babies with African descent; approx. 1 in 1,200.
What are the causes?
- In most cases, it is not known what caused the cleft but research has shown to be a combination of multi-factorial causes that may include a combination of genetic and environmental factors, alcohol and drug use, lack of vitamin B (folic acid), maternal illness during pregnancy and other. Ongoing research is necessary to understand the causes.
What’s the impact of a cleft in a child’s life?
- Many children born with clefts have difficulty feeding, breathing, hearing, speaking, low self-estime, lack of social interaction and the ability to reach their full potential.
How is it treated?
- A comprehensive team approach by specialists working together is necessary to provide the best possible treatment comprised of paediatrician, plastic surgeons, orthodontists, speech-language pathologists, audiologists, nurse practitioners, social workers, occupational therapists and other health care providers.
- Our main objective is to provide each child with a comprehensive team of specialists involved in their treatment and care long term to integrate them to society, and live normal, healthy, productive lives and to enable them to reach their full potential.