What is cleft Lip and cleft palate?
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.
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
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.