Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate Services

Facial clefting is hereditary, and while exact causes of the deformity remain unknown, a variety of factors including genetics and environment can play a role in its development. Regardless of the cause, the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai (NYEE) cleft team emphasizes that it is never a parent’s fault that their child was born with a cleft, and we are always here to help through the entire process.

The cleft lip and cleft palate is not simply an aesthetic deformity. It can impact hearing, breathing, speech, and swallowing, which is why a high quality interdisciplinary approach is required for treatment. This means that a reputable center with a team of different specialists, each of whom can take care of specific needs, is the best option. Often surgery is just the first step in the treatment of a cleft lip and palate. As a result, a comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan should begin early after birth, and the child should be consistently followed as he or she grows to address any problems that may develop.

At NYEE, our facial plastic and reconstructive surgery specialists understand the challenges of treating cleft cases. Our center handles everything from the most basic deformities to the most complex reconstructions, which is why our team consists of a variety of specialists who treat everything from the surgical correction of the cleft to the therapy necessary for improved speech and feeding. Using a customized treatment plan, along with the latest surgical techniques and technology, we produce the highest-level cosmetic and functional results of both the lip and nose at the same time.

About Cleft Lip and Palate

Cleft lip and palate come in many shapes and sizes. Some cleft lips consist of only a partial cleft that does not go all the way through to the nose, while others are larger and include significant nasal deformity. Cleft palate can accompany the cleft lip or can form as an isolated event.

Risk Factors for Orofacial Clefting

For cleft lip, with or without cleft palate, the risk factors include the following:

  • 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

For isolated cleft palate, the risk factors include the following:

  • 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 of the child’s facial structure.