As parents, you should consider yourself lucky if your child is born healthy and most importantly, without any physical abnormalities. Cleft lip and palate are such abnormalities present from birth that affect the upper lip and the palate of mouth. The rate of occurrence of cleft lip with or without cleft palate ranges from 1:700 to 1:800. This means that a child born with a cleft somewhere in the world is just about every two and half minutes. There is no definite cause for this condition. However, there are certain interrelated factors such as genetic mutation, cousin marriage, viral infections during pregnancy and any drugs taken during conception in first few weeks etc.
The infants who are born with this condition have so many problems apart from the distorted aesthetics of the face which has a psychological impact on the parents as well as the beloved ones. The most important of all problems resulting from cleft lip and palate is the self-estimated or outwardly imposed poor social image of the affected child. Besides, the mother often faces difficulty in breastfeeding or bottle feeding. Nevertheless, with the advancement in surgical field, even the severest form of this condition can be treated quite effectively. With regular periodic gynecological consultation, the condition can be diagnosed prior to birth by undergoing an ultrasound test.
If your child is born with this condition, it is important that you go for the treatment immediately after birth. Usually, the plastic surgeons wait until a child is at least nine or ten months old before the surgery is done. The procedure involves cutting the tissue on either side of the cleft separation. The surgeon then joins the tissue and muscle from both sides together with the help of sutures. Recovery from both procedures may cause pain and soreness in the treated area. However, the cosmetic surgeon will provide the patient with a prescription for pain killer medication that minimizes pain during the healing process.