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Cleft Lip & Palate Surgery

During the initial months of a child’s life, the primary focus revolves around feeding and ensuring adequate weight gain. Typically, cleft lip repair surgeries are scheduled around the age of three months, once the child has reached a suitable weight. This surgical intervention, which generally lasts a few hours, necessitates an overnight hospital stay. Following the procedure, bottle or breast feeding can typically resume.

Cleft palate repairs are typically conducted when the child reaches approximately one year of age. This treatment entails a collaborative effort among various specialists, including pediatric plastic surgeons, dentists, orthodontists, speech pathologists, and others. After undergoing cleft palate surgery, the child is typically hospitalized for one to two days. Subsequently, ongoing monitoring of speech development is essential, and additional interventions may be required to optimize palate function during speech articulation.

As the child matures, additional procedures may be necessary to address residual issues. For instance, bone grafting procedures may be performed in later years to address gum clefts. Furthermore, during adolescence, close monitoring of jaw growth is vital, and corrective jaw surgery may be warranted to address alignment issues. At NuVista Plastic Surgery’s Utah office, our dedicated pediatric surgical team boasts over three decades of experience in providing compassionate and effective care for children with cleft lip and palate conditions. Reach out to us via the provided contact form to schedule a consultation and learn more about our comprehensive approach to pediatric reconstructive surgery.

Why didn’t our baby’s mouth fully develop?

Cleft lip and palate may occur as part of an underlying syndrome or be an isolated birth defect.

How many babies are born with clefts?

Cleft lip with or without cleft palate is one of the most common birth defects in the U.S., affecting approximately one in 700 babies.

Will our baby have trouble learning to talk?

Typically, babies born with only a cleft lip (without a cleft palate) are not at increased risk for speech problems compared to other children without a cleft. When a baby is born with a cleft palate, there is an increased risk for speech and language difficulties. Because there is an opening in the roof of their mouth (the hard and soft palate), the baby’s early speech sounds and noises may sound “nasal” due to the lack of separation between the mouth and nose. Most babies with a cleft palate will show some early delays in how soon they start to babble or with how many different sounds they say, before palate repair surgery. After palate repair, some babies with cleft palate will begin to “catch up” with their speech, without special instruction. On the other hand, many infants and toddlers with repaired cleft palate will require speech-language therapy to ensure that they make appropriate progress with developing their vocabulary and articulation (pronunciation) skills.