So cleft lip and palate fall into a category of openings in the midline of the face. Most people would consider them the same if they don't know about them, but they're very different. They do happen together, however, they occur in different parts of the face and cause different problems for the baby. Babies who are born with a cleft lip, we used to call them hare lip because it looked like a rabbit, but that's fallen out of favor. We call it now just cleft lip. What they look like is they have an opening on one side or on both sides of the lip where you can see through to the teeth or straight through all the way to the back of the nose. Cleft palate is different. Cleft palate actually occurs inside the mouth where you see the teeth over here. There's a failure of the shelves inside the mouth themselves to join and they can end up with an opening. And the opening is between the nose and the mouth itself. Cleft lips and cleft palates cause different problems altogether. But they're all in the same kind of vicinity of problems around the mouth. A cleft lip, if not treated early on in life, and typically we treat it in the first couple months of life, can lead to severe issues with swallowing. Patients cannot suck very well when they don't have a closed lip. They have to use something called an Haberman (or Haberman) nipple which is a type of pacifier cover that you would put on or just the regular nipple cover that you would put on a bottle that helps them feed better. Ultimately, they do need closure of that lip. its performed with a simple cleft lip surgery. In this country, there's a slightly lower incidence of clip lift of cleft lips than in other countries. Typically we would see maximum, might say one in a thousand, over here is the highest I've seen in any paper. But it's generally lower than that and that's with cleft lip and palate. The cleft palate occurs a little more frequently. A cleft palate is a failure of closure of the palatal shelves inside the mouth. And again, this can lead to feeding problems. However it is treated a little bit later than the cleft lip is cleft lips. You treat pretty much in the first two months of life. The cleft palate, sometimes you need to wait to about 10 months of age or a little bit longer until they have enough tissue within their mouth to fix it with a surgery.
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