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Posts for tag: Cleft Palate

By Christopher J Lee, MD
November 05, 2020
Category: ENT Health
Tags: Cleft Palate  
A cleft palate is a common birth defect that occurs in the first six to nine weeks of pregnancy in which the tissue of the roof of the mouth doesn’t fuse. This results in an opening in the roof of the mouth that over time can lead to other problems such as recurring ear infections, difficulty with feedings, and speech problems. This is why it’s important to work with a qualified ear, nose, and throat doctor who can ensure that your child gets the proper treatment to correct their cleft palate.

Detecting a Cleft Palate

During your child’s very first examination after birth, a doctor will be able to easily tell whether your child has a cleft palate through a simple oral exam. From there, your pediatrician may recommend seeing an ENT doctor who can correct the birth defect.

Cleft Palate Treatment

The only way to correct a cleft palate is through a procedure known as a palatoplasty. This usually isn’t performed until the baby is around 10 to 12 months old. A palatoplasty will close the gap in the roof of the mouth to improve feedings and to prevent speech delays. This procedure is performed under general anesthesia and takes about 2-3 hours to complete.

The surgery will close up the gap in the palate and repair any of the muscles of the palate, if necessary. Stitches will dissolve on their own and your ENT doctor will provide you with detailed care instructions both before and after surgery. For example, your baby will need to stick with a liquid diet for about a week after surgery and then only eat soft foods for several weeks after.

Even after surgery, your child may require additional surgeries or other specialists and care such as orthodontics or speech therapy. This is something that you can discuss with your ENT doctor. This procedure is designed to not only improve your child’s appearance but also to prevent speech impediments and language delays, as well as breathing, hearing, or feeding problems.

If your baby was born with a cleft lip or palate, an otolaryngologist will be able to provide you with the specialized surgical treatment you need to correct this birth defect. To learn more about this procedure and your child’s treatment options, call your ENT today.
By Christopher J Lee, MD
October 01, 2018
Category: ENT Care
Tags: Cleft Palate  

Cleft palates can be reconstructedA cleft palate is a birth defect that affects the shape and formation of the roof of the mouth, causing a split in either the soft tissue or the bony portion. This condition occurs early on in pregnancy as the baby is developing. Of course, a cleft palate will not be detected until after a baby is born. While this malformation can be disheartening and stressful for parents, it’s important to understand this birth defect and how it can be repaired.

Depending on the severity of the cleft palate, your otolaryngologist will be able to determine how many surgeries will be necessary. The first surgery alone can improve the function of the middle ears, improve how the palate functions and even ensure that teeth and certain bones within the face develop properly.

In some cases, your child may also require bone grafting surgery at some point during childhood to improve the health of your gums and to make sure that permanent teeth are properly supported. As you might imagine, getting cleft palate surgeries early on will also improve your child’s speech and prevent impediments.

Additional surgeries may also be required to improve certain areas of the face such as the nose, as well as to improve breathing or to realign the jaws. After the surgeries are complete, other procedures may be performed in order to reduce the appearance of the scar.

It’s important to know that despite the lengthy treatment process and multiple surgeries that children who undergo cleft palate repair early on in life can achieve a greater quality of life. Not only do these surgeries provide a more natural appearance, but they prevent certain health problems (e.g. hearing loss) while also restoring proper speech and chewing.

If your baby was born with a cleft palate or cleft lip it’s important that you find an ENT doctor that you can trust to discuss surgery and to find out if this is the best option for your little one.