Cleft lip and cleft palate are birth defects that occur when a baby's lip or mouth do not form properly. They happen early during pregnancy. A baby can have a cleft lip, a cleft palate, or both.. They can be on one or both sides of the lip, or it can be in the middle but that is very rare.
Researchers believe that most cases of cleft lip and cleft palate are caused by an interaction of genetic and environmental factors. In many babies, a definite cause hasn't been discovered.
Every year, there's over 2,500 babies born with a cleft palate. And there is over 4,400 babies with a cleft lip each year. At least 70% of clefts are isolated, meaning they occur with no other birth defects. Boys develop both cleft lip and palate more often than girls.
How/When is it detected?
Cleft lips may be detected with ultrasound beginning around the 13th week of pregnancy. As the fetus continues growing, it may be easier to accurately diagnose a cleft lip. A cleft palate that occurs alone is more difficult to see using ultrasounds.
Babies may develop a speech disorder, stuttering, or have an impaired voice. Things that are also common are physical deformities, eating difficulties, hearing loss, mouth breathing, nasal congestion, or snoring.
The only treatment there really is, is surgery. The surgery restores normal function with minimal scarring. If needed, speech therapy helps correct speaking difficulties.The different surgeries used to help this are palatoplasty, orthognathic surgery, bone grafting, or a flap surgery. There is no other known cure aside for surgery.
Some longer term effects of this would be hearing loss, dental concerns, speech disorders, or some nasal/septum deformities.