Slide 2: The cleft lip (cheiloschisis) and cleft palate (palatoschisis) are among the most common birth defects affecting children in North America. The incomplete formation of the upper lip (cleft lip) or roof of the mouth (cleft palate) can occur individually, or both defects may occur together. The conditions can vary in severity and may involve one or both sides of the face. A cleft lip or cleft palate occur in about one in 600 to 800 births, and are also called hare lip.
Slide 3: There are three different types of cleft lip. The unilateral incomplete cleft lip looks like a dent in the upper lip that does not reach the nose. It is also sometimes called a partial or incomplete cleft. If the dent reaches one nostril the cleft lip is known as a unilateral complete cleft. If it reaches to both nostrils, it is known as a bilateral complete cleft lip. If the cleft does not extend into the mouth, cosmetic surgery can be accomplished to correct this condition.
Slide 4: A cleft palate is a bit more serious condition. In this case, the two plates that form the skull in the hard palate, or roof of the mouth, do not completely join. Again, there are three kinds of cleft palates. The incomplete cleft palate is only a problem within the mouth and does not reach the nose. The complete lip and palate clefs reach the nostrils and are either unilateral (reaching only one nostril) or bilateral (reaching both nostrils). If this occurs, a combination of reconstructive and cosmetic plastic surgeries is needed to correct the problem. Usually, surgery can be accomplished immediately after birth, but most doctors prefer to wait until the baby is at least ten weeks old so that he or she has time to recover from the birthing process itself.
Slide 5: Cleft lips and cleft palates form due to genetic and environmental factors. They are most prevalent in Asian, Latino, and Native American races, but they can actually affect any child. A cleft, or separation of the upper lip and/or the roof of the mouth, occurs very early in the development of your unborn child. During fetal development, certain components of the upper lip and the roof of the mouth fail to form properly. Cleft lip and cleft palate reconstructive and cosmetic plastic surgery is used in order to both restore function to the mouth and to restore a more normal facial appearance. What I mean to say is that not only will it form a more normal-looking face, but it will also help with the various speech problems a child will have if trying to learn to speak with a cleft lip or cleft palate.