Infants born with cleft lips can lead normal social life if treated on time
Cleft lip and cleft palate are birth defects that occur when the tissues that form the roof of the mouth and the upper lip fail to fuse from one or both sides.
The problem can range from a small notch in the lip to a groove that runs into the roof of the mouth and the nose. This deformation affects the way the child's face looks, Parent India magazine reported.
Children with cleft palate are unable to maintain negative pressure in their oral cavity and, therefore, face difficulty in sucking. They may have nasal regurgitation, choking, gagging and might intake too much air while sucking the nipples.
Appreciatively, cleft lip can now be successfully treated by surgery with minimal scarring, especially if conducted during early childhood.
This surgery is performed on babies as early as three to six months. In difficult cases with very wide clefts, PSIO (Pre Surgical Infant Orthopaedics) is practised at some centres to facilitate cleft lip closure and present post-operative stretching of scars.
Scar less surgery of the cleft lip is a possibility with foetal surgery on intrauterine babies.
Closure of the cleft palate is done in babies between the age group of 12 and 18 months, i.e. before they acquire speech. This prevents the development of abnormal adaptive speech patterns in the child which are difficult to rectify.
When it comes to minimal corrections, they are attempted at the time of lip repair to present progression of deformity. In case of gross deformity, rhinoplasty is performed before the child goes to school.
(Posted on 20-02-2014)