Cleft Palate Surgery: Bridging the Gap to a Brighter Future


Cleft palate is a birth defect that affects about one of every 700 newborns in the United States. It occurs when the tissues on the roof of your baby’s mouth don’t grow together properly during pregnancy, leaving an opening between the nose, mouth and upper jawbone. There are two types of cleft palate: oral clefts and nasal clefts. In an oral cleft (also known as a bilateral cleft lip), the lip and gum tissue fail to fuse properly during development. In nasal clefts, only half of the roof of your baby’s mouth develops normally while the other half does not develop at all or develops abnormally.  Say’s Dr Lawrence Gray, both types result in speech problems because there are no structures separating air from food as food is swallowed into their lungs by children with unilateral (one sided) cleft lip with or without palate defects

What is cleft palate?

A cleft palate is a birth defect that occurs when the roof of your baby’s mouth does not form properly. It can affect one side of the mouth or both sides, as well as the soft palate (the back portion), hard palate (the front part) or both.

A cleft lip can also occur with a cleft palate; this combination is known as an orofacial cleft disorder. A unilateral orofacial cleft occurs when only one side has been affected by this type of birth defect and bilateral orofacial clefts occur when both sides have been affected by this type of birth defect

How does cleft palate affect speech?

Speech is one of the most important aspects of a person’s life. It can be difficult for people with cleft palates to produce sounds correctly, especially when they’re learning to speak. They may have trouble making certain sounds like /r/, /s/ and /w/.

This can cause problems when trying to communicate with others because they don’t sound like everyone else around them. For example, a child might say “wabbit” instead of “rabbit”. This will make it difficult for others who are listening in on conversations between these children and their parents or other people around them who know what they should be saying instead of what actually came out of their mouths!

If you’ve ever had someone talk with an accent that made it hard for you understand what he was saying at first but then eventually got used too after hearing him talk many times before (like myself), then imagine how frustrating this must feel when every single word comes out sounding different than expected due to your cleft palate affecting speech patterns too much?

When should my child have cleft palate surgery?

There are several reasons why it’s important to have your child’s cleft palate surgery as soon as possible. First, the sooner you can get him or her into surgery, the better their results will be. This is because a newborn’s bones are more pliable and can heal faster than an older child’s bones. Second, if you wait until age five or six years old before having this procedure done on your child, they may have difficulty learning how to speak properly because their speech organs haven’t developed yet (e.g., their jaws). Thirdly–and perhaps most importantly–if you wait too long before getting this surgery done then eating and drinking could become very uncomfortable for him/her later on down in life when he/she becomes an adult!

What happens during cleft palate surgery?

Surgery is performed under general anesthesia, which means that you’ll be asleep during the procedure and won’t feel any pain. Surgery is performed in a hospital setting by a team of surgeons and anesthesiologists who specialize in cleft palate repair surgery. The surgery takes approximately one to two hours to complete and often requires multiple stages over time.

Children with cleft palate need early intervention and successful reconstructive surgery to achieve optimal outcomes.

Cleft palate is a condition in which the roof of the mouth does not fully close during development. This can result in problems with speech and eating, as well as dental issues such as tooth decay and cavities. Children with cleft palate need early intervention and successful reconstructive surgery to achieve optimal outcomes.

  • Early Intervention: The earlier you get help for your child, the better his or her outcome will be later on.* Successful Reconstructive Surgery: When performed by an experienced surgeon at a high-volume center like Nationwide Children’s Hospital (NCH), this surgery can improve communication skills and reduce oral health concerns.* Optimal Outcomes: By working together with you throughout this process–from diagnosis through treatment planning–we’ll ensure that your child achieves their best possible outcome


Our team of experts is ready to help your child with cleft palate. We know that this is a difficult time for you and your family, but we are here to walk with you through every step of the process. Our goal is to give your child a brighter future by providing the highest quality care possible in an environment that feels safe and welcoming.

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