Cleft Lip and Palate

Cleft lip surgery is usually performed by the time a baby is three months old. By contrast, a cleft palate often requires multiple surgeries over the course of 18 years. The first surgery to repair the palate is usually performed by the time a baby is six to 12 months old. The initial surgery creates a functional palate, reduces the chances that fluid will develop in the middle ears, and aids in the proper development of the teeth and facial bones.

Cleft lip surgery
is usually
performed by
the time a baby is
3 months old.

As a member of a team of healthcare specialists, your oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMS) plays an important role in the carefully orchestrated, multiple-stage correctional program for cleft lip and palate patients. The goal is to help restore the jaw and facial structures, leading to normal function and appearance. Care and treatment must consider function, appearance, nutrition, speech, hearing, and emotional and psychological development.

Repairing your child's cleft lip or cleft palate is a serious commitment. We urge you to download the e-book on this page for further information.

Other Craniofacial Anomalies

Craniofacial anomalies are congenital malformations of the skull and face. These range from common, as in cleft lip and palate, to rare, but most will affect the look of the child’s head or face and sometimes other parts of the body as well.

Any child with a head or facial abnormality should be evaluated by a specialist. Parents should discuss their concerns with a pediatrician and proceed with the appropriate referral to a surgeon.

The information provided here is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is provided to help you communicate effectively when you seek the advice of your oral and maxillofacial surgeon.