Surgery to close the cleft lip is often done at when the child is between 6 weeks and 9 months old. Surgery may be needed later in life the problem severely affects the nose area. See: Cleft lip and palate repair
A cleft palate is usually closed within the first year of life so that the child’s speech normally develops. Sometimes a prosthetic device is temporarily used to close the palate so the baby can feed and grow until surgery can be done.
Continued follow-up may be needed with speech therapists and orthodontists.
For additional resources and information, see cleft palate support group.
Although treatment may continue for several years and require several surgeries, most children with a cleft lip and palate can achieve normal appearance, speech, and eating. However, some people may have continued speech problems.
- Dental cavities
- Displaced teeth
- Hearing loss
- Lip deformities
- Nasal deformities
- Recurrent ear infections
- Speech difficulties
Calling Your Health Care Provider
Cleft lip and palate is usually diagnosed at birth. Follow the health care provider’s recommendations for follow-up visits. Call if problems develop between visits.
Review Date : 5/12/2009
Reviewed By : Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.