Cleft lip and cleft palate, which can also occur together as cleft lip and palate are variations of a type of clefting congenital deformity caused by abnormal facial development during gestation. This type of deformity is sometimes referred to as a cleft.
Cleft: A sub-division in the body's natural structure, regularly formed before birth. A cleft lip or palate can be successfully treated with surgery soon after birth. The term hare lip is sometimes used colloquially to describe the condition.
Cleft lip: Formed in the top of the lip as either a small gap or an indentation in the lip (partial or incomplete cleft) or continues into the nose (complete cleft).
Cleft palate: A condition in which the two plates of the skull that form the hard palate (roof of the mouth) are not completely joined. The soft palate is in these cases cleft as well. In most cases, cleft lip is also present. Cleft palate occurs in about one in 700 live births worldwide.
Cleft lips or palates occur in somewhere between one in 600-800 births. Cleft lip and palate is very treatable, however the kind of treatment depends on the type and severity of the cleft. A cleft palate or cleft lip is nothing to be ashamed of or to fear. Thanks to modern technology cleft palate surgery is safer than ever before and can help a child make a full recovery.
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