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What is Cleft-lip?
Cleft-lip and cleft palate, which can also occur together as cleft lip and palate, are variations of a type of clefting congenital deformity caused by abnormal facial development during gestation. A cleft is a fissure or opening—a gap. It is the non-fusion of the body's natural structures that form before birth. Clefts can also affect other parts of the face, such as the eyes, ears, nose, cheeks and forehead. A cleft lip or palate can be successfully treated with surgery soon after birth. Cleft-lips or palates occur in somewhere between one in 600-800 births.
Cleft lip is among the most common of congenital deformities. The condition is due to insufficient mesenchymal migration during primary palate formation in the fourth through seventh week of intrauterine life. This results in disfigurement and distortion of the upper lip and nose. Cleft-lip may be associated with syndromes that include anomalies involving multiple organs. Patients may have impaired facial growth, dental anomalies, and speech disorders (if a cleft palate is present), and they may experience late psychosocial difficulties.
What are the types of Cleft-lip?
The three common kinds of cleft-lip are:
1. cleft lip without a cleft palate
2. cleft palate without a cleft lip
3. cleft lip and cleft palate together
In addition, clefts can occur on one side of the mouth (unilateral clefting) or on both sides of the mouth (bilateral clefting).
Procedure for repair of Cleft-lip repair:
The surgery for the repair of Cleft Lip is usually done in the first year of life, preferably around 10 months of age. Cleft-lip repair is performed under general anesthesia. The surgeon will make an incision on both the sides of the cleft up to and into the nose. The dark pink outer portion of the separation, which includes the skin and the muscle, will be pulled down, the skin of the lip will be apposed and stitched together thus closing the gap in your child's lip. The surgery for Cleft Lip is performed as a single procedure, which also closes the nostril deformity. Bilateral Cleft Lip sometimes requires two surgeries. Depending on how extensive the birth defect is, surgery for Cleft Lip can take anywhere from 2 - 3 hours.
Recovery period after Cleft-lip surgery:
Your child will feel some pain and soreness following the Cleft Lip surgery. He / she will be irritable and may require some medication to calm down and relieve the pain and soreness which commonly occurs following the operation to repair Cleft Lip. Your surgeon might prescribe antibiotics to minimize the chances of infection while in the hospital. He / she will provide you with instructions on feeding and general care of the baby during the crucial couple of days after surgery for Cleft-lip. Your child may have to be put in restraints to make sure he / she does not rub the area of the face that has stitches. Your child will be hospitalized for about 4 - 5 days, the stitches need not be opened as they dissolve on it's own after a few days.
Outcome of Cleft-lip surgery:
Outcome of Cleft-lip surgery is quite good. Most commonly the defect can be corrected in a single operation; very seldom a second operation is required. If the cleft (gap) is extensive and cannot be closed in one surgery, th