This post is going to give a brief overview on the craniofacial condition: cleft lip.
Cleft lip is a condition where there is a failure in the fusion of two important structures during development of the human fetus. These two structures must fuse on 2 different sides of the upper lip. Failure of one side leads to a “unilateral” cleft lip, and failure of both leads to a “bilateral” cleft lip. There are many causes for this condition, such as genetics, drugs/alcohol/tobacco that the mother ingests while pregnant, and many other environmental influences.
A major problem that cleft lip babies experience are issues with suckling during feeding from the bottle and breast. This leads to poor nutritional intake of the child. It is important to see a plastic or oral and maxillofacial surgeon as soon as possible to seek proper and necessary treatment!
To treat cleft lip, surgery is needed. Surgery involves suturing important structures of the mouth together, an important muscle around the lip and the skin that sits on top of it. Once the cleft lip has been surgically fixed, major surgeries are rarely needed in the future. Our next topic covered will be Cleft Palate.