Cleft lip and cleft palate are birth defects, the cause of which is not clearly known though many environmental and genetic factors are said to contribute to these conditions. When the tissues of the lip and the upper jaw bone fail to fuse during the early gestation period (usually during the 4th or 6th week), it results in a cleft lip. If the cleft occurs on one side of the lip it is a unilateral cleft and if it occurs on both sides, it is a bilateral one. During early fetal development (the 8th or 12th week), when the tissues of the palate fail to fuse, a cleft palate develops. It is estimated that around one out of 700 – 1000 children in the U.S are born with this condition.
Cleft Lip and Palate – Possible Reasons for This Abnormal Condition
The actual cause of this abnormal condition is by and large unknown though researchers attribute it to genetic and environmental factors. A cleft palate occurring in isolation without a cleft lip is associated often, though not always, with an underlying genetic syndrome. Cleft lip and palate is in fact associated with more than four hundred syndromes including Pierre Robin, Down and Waardenburg syndromes, with at least 30% of the cleft deformities connected with one of these.
Apart from these, teenage pregnancies and pregnancies in women older than thirty-five are also believed to contribute to the development of cleft lip and palate.
Cleft Lip Repair and Cleft Palate Repair
Both these conditions can be treated using the latest plastic surgery procedures. An experienced plastic surgeon will provide safe and effective cleft lip and palate repair to improve functionality and facial appearance. It is best to ensure that the surgeon is board certified and provides the surgery from an AAAASF accredited plastic surgery center.