Cleft palate surgery

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Clefts belong among congenital defects caused by failure of fusion of the facial processes during embryonic development. The cleft may affect the lip, the palate, the jaw or it can be a combined defect when all three parts are affected.

The defect can be unilateral or bilateral. In addition to the aesthetically obvious defect in a newborn, there is a problem with the intake of food

Treatment of the cleft defects is long-term and consists of series of surgeries, in which a surgeon, a dental doctor and a dental technician cooperate.  The surgery consists of sewing the defects together and reconstruction of the affected parts of the face with subsequent orthodontic treatment during teeth growth. When the defect is combined, the lip cleft is closed in the infancy; in the second stage, the palate cleft and the jaw defects are corrected.

Until the defect is removed, customized equipment, small plates, etc., are used, which prevent penetration of the milk into the nasal cavity during feeding. There can be problems with the development of speech because fused palate is needed for correct pronunciation.  Therefore, the defects are later solved by speech-therapy exercises.

Published: 2011-11-28

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