A cleft lip is a kind of facial deformity, which occurs in the upper lip as a small/wide split or gap since birth. Cleft palate, on the other hand, is the occurrence of a split in the roof of the mouth. During the development of the baby in the mother’s womb, facial tissues join improperly resulting in both, cleft lip and cleft palate.
Almost 1 million untreated cleft afflicted patients are there in India, and almost 35000 infants are born with cleft lip and palate every year.
- Drinking: Babies with only a cleft lip will be able to use a typical bottle and will be able to be breastfed. Special bottles and nipples are often required for babies with a cleft of the palate. To ensure adequate nutrition and feeding method it is better to work with a cleft palate feeding specialist. To monitor successful feeding and growth a lactation specialist may also be consulted. In choosing the best bottle for your child a craniofacial speech-language pathologist, lactation specialist, nurse, and occupational therapist, can assist.
- Breathing: It is critical for the child to breathe and feed well in the initial period after birth. Some degree of respiratory distress is demonstrated by neonates with cleft palate, especially if micrognathia (a condition in which the jaw is undersized) is present.
- Ear Infection: Hearing loss is detected in kids with cleft palate. This is due to fluid build-up inside the ear. To help them hear better they usually need very small special tubes placed in their eardrums. Therefore, once or twice a year children with cleft palate should have their ears and hearing checked.
- Communication: Speech development should be typical or very close to typical if a child has only a cleft lip. Speech intervention to monitor speech development is needed for children with cleft lip and palate or cleft palate only. This is because there are chances of developing speech delays or errors. Further surgery or speech therapy or both will be needed in some cases. In addition to speech therapy, craniofacial teams may incorporate a temporary “speech appliance”.
- A child may become tactile in his efforts to communicate. This may lead to fighting. This behavior stems from a simple desire to communicate. However, teachers and other children may not understand that.
- Lack of friends and support network
- The child feels ashamed due to this deformity, and they may find it difficult to make friends and lack a support network.
- Lack of Confidence
- Individuals with cleft lip and palate face various limitations, and as a result, they will encounter various social problems. Adults with cleft lip and palate may develop anxiety and depression. They will be unsatisfied with their facial appearance and this might lead to behavioral problems.
Some of the leading skin clinics in Kerala provide comprehensive management for children with cleft lip and palate.
Cleft lip and palate surgeries are conducted at Specialists Hospital, Kochi. General surgeons at the hospital provide expert diagnosis and treatment for cleft lip and palate. At Specialist Hospital, Kochi, they have a team of dedicated professionals working together to provide high-quality holistic management to babies born with cleft lip and palate.
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