Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate (兔唇/兔颚)

It is the expectation of every pregnant mother to deliver a healthy and perfectly normal baby.
Unfortunately in real life, sometimes the baby is born with some degree of handicaps, such as cleft lip and cleft palate.

Cleft Lip (唇)

Cleft Palate (兔颚)

What is cleft Lip and cleft palate?

Cleft lip and palate is a inborn defect affecting 1 in 700 newborns.

It is caused by a split or separation in the structure of the lip or the roof of the mouth.
During early pregnancy, separate areas of the face develop and then join together. When some parts fail to come together, a cleft is formed.
Cleft lip and palate can happen together or separately.

How does it happen?

In Malaysia, it is estimated that one out of 700 babies is born with a cleft lip or palate.
The causes of cleft lip and/or palate are not understood very well.

Sometimes clefts run in families and sometimes a baby is born with a cleft without anyone else in the family having one.

One study has shown that mothers who smoke 20 or more cigarettes a day during pregnancy are more than twice as likely to have babies born with a cleft lip and/or palate than non-smokers.

The same study found that babies were eight times as likely to have a cleft lip and/or palate if they were genetically predisposed and if their mother smoked during her pregnancy.

How to detect cleft lip and cleft palate before delivery ?

A detailed ultrasound scan at 5 months of pregnancy is important to detect this defect.
4D ultrasound scan provides extra accuracy to pick up this inborn defect.
If the baby has cleft lip and cleft palate, a detailed scan to look for other associated abnormality is necessary because occasionally the baby may have more than one inborn defect.

4D Scan Image of Cleft Lip

What should I do if my baby has cleft lip and cleft palate?

It is not easy for the parents to accept the fact and it is also very difficult for the doctor to break the news to them if the baby is diagnosed to have this defect.
The parents usually need a lot of emotional support to face the reality.
Once the diagnosis of cleft lip/palate is confirmed after the delivery, the parents need to learn a proper feeding method to prevent milk aspiration. The baby needs a special feeding teak to prevent leaking of milk to the nose.
Cleft lip can be surgically repaired after the baby is 3 months old and the cleft palate is usually repaired after the baby is one year old.
With the modern plastic surgery techniques, the repairs can be done nicely without leaving obvious surgical scar.

Plastic surgery repair of cleft lip


ooi yu fay said...


ooi yu fay said...