About the disease
Cleft lip is a condition when tissues of the face and mouth do not join together. This is a congenital condition common for babies. Cleft lip usually develops during the prenatal development. Normally, tissues responsible for fusing lip and palate develop during the second or third months of pregnancy. In babies with cleft lip fusion does not happen and as a result they can not open mouth properly. Most often, cleft lip is caused by environmental factors. Environmental factors include smoking, alcohol consumption during pregnancy and drugs, which are forbidden for pregnant women. Different infections, such as rubella, can also contribute to the development of cleft lip. Genetic predisposition also plays an important role. Mother or father with certain chromosomes can pass the genes which will contribute to the development of the cleft lip. In some cases babies with the gene which triggers cleft lip do not have this condition and do not develop it during prenatal development. Nonetheless, combination of certain environmental factors and this gene can cause cleft lip.
- Visible deformity of the face
- Inability of a baby to consume the food and liquid properly
- Frequent crying
Diagnosis is usually done during pregnancy, if a woman regularly has ultrasound. If ultrasound did not record the deformity, this condition becomes visible right after the birth of a baby.
Plastic reconstruction is a surgery, during which the cleft lip is reconstructed and separation is repaired. A child will need to wear special braces on arms to prevent him/her from touching the stitches. After the surgery a child will need to use intravenous catheter for feeding and drinking liquid before the stitches can be taken off.
Nowadays plastic reconstruction is the only possible way for repairing the cleft lip condition. Its results are very favorable with 90% of all children recovering after it. After the surgery a child may be prescribed to take some pain relievers for several days, until the lip finally heals.