A cleft lip or cleft palate is usually surgically corrected, restoring function and achieving a more normal appearance with minimal scarring. The surgery will depend and vary according to your child’s particular symptoms and the severity of their diagnosis.
Surgeries to correct a cleft lip are usually performed under general anaesthesia when your child is between three to six months old. The surgery usually causes minimal scarring, most often a small scar on the lip under the nose.
A cleft palate will usually be treated surgically between the ages of nine to twelve months. The aim of this surgery is to repair the palate, which will help to prevent speech impediment. However, some children will continue to sound nasal following surgery or develop a nasal voice as they grow.
Your child may also undergo surgeries to reduce the risk of chronic ear infection by inserting ear tubes into the eardrums to prevent the build-up of fluid.
Following the initial correctional surgeries, your child may need more surgeries as he/she matures and his/her facial structures change. Surgeries to correct orofacial deformity will have usually been completed by the time your child is a teenager.
Treatment is usually very successful, and many children born with a cleft lip or palate (or both) live happy and fulfilling lives.