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About Cleft Lip and Palate

Baby with incomplete cleft lip

Cleft lip and palate literally comes in many shapes and sizes. There are over 17,000 known genes that contribute to craniofacial development and over 300 known syndromes with associated clefting.

Different widths and lengths of the cleft lip exist. Some cleft lips consist of only a partial cleft that does not go all the way through to the nose while others are significantly bigger and include significant nasal deformity. Cleft palate can accompany the cleft lip or can form as an isolated event.

Risk Factors for Orofacial Clefting:

Cleft Lip With or Without Cleft Palate

  • Occurs at a frequency of about 2 cases per 1,000 births
  • Most often linked to genes
  • Often found among Asians, Native Americans, and Caucasians as compared to others like African Americans.

Isolated Cleft Palate

  • Occurs at a frequency of about 1 case per 1,000 births
  • Found with equivalent frequency in infants of all backgrounds
  • More commonly occurs in females than in males

Diagnosing Cleft Lip and Plate

While the presence of a cleft lip and cleft palate will be noticeable once the child is born, a prenatal ultrasound test can help detect any abnormality on the child’s facial structure.

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