Cleft palate is a birth defect that occurs when the tissues in the mouth and nose don’t fuse properly. It can cause speech problems, tooth misalignment and breathing issues. The surgery to repair cleft palate has long been considered a successful treatment, but it is expensive and many families cannot afford it on their own. Say’s Dr Lawrence Gray, recent research has shown that early intervention with clefts can improve patients’ lives dramatically – not only in terms of speech but also socially and emotionally as well
Cleft palate is a birth defect that affects the roof of the mouth. It can be caused by a number of factors, including:
- Genetics (a cleft lip or palate runs in families)
- Injury during pregnancy, such as when a woman falls or experiences trauma like domestic violence during her pregnancy
- Infection in the uterus before birth
Cleft palate is often diagnosed shortly after birth by an oral surgeon. The signs that your child may have this condition include:
The cost of cleft care
Cleft care is an expensive proposition. The cost of surgery alone can run anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000, depending on the severity of your child’s case and what types of procedures are needed in addition to lip repair. Follow-up care with periodic checkups and adjustments will also be necessary during childhood and into adulthood as your child grows up.
In addition to these costs, there are other expenses associated with cleft palate surgery that you should consider: medication (including prescription drugs), special food products such as supplements or baby formula if your child requires them after surgery, transportation costs when traveling back and forth between appointments at different facilities (if applicable), hotel stays while visiting doctors out-of-town…the list goes on!
The impact of the surgery
Cleft palate surgery is a big deal. It’s not a cure, but it can make a big difference in the life of a child. The surgery doesn’t just involve cosmetic changes–it can help with eating and breathing, too. And that makes all the difference in the world!
For example: one study found that children who had undergone cleft palate repair were much more likely to be enrolled in school than those who hadn’t undergone repair; another found that 80% of patients were able to breathe normally after surgery; still another showed improved speech among patients who had undergone repair (compared with those who hadn’t).
Importance of early intervention and treatment
Early intervention and treatment are key to a child’s success. Research shows that children who receive early intervention have better outcomes than those who do not, including:
- Better language development and speech skills
- More independence in daily living skills such as dressing and feeding themselves
- Better physical health (such as fewer ear infections)
What is the long-term outcome for children with clefts?
The long-term outcome of children with clefts is generally positive. However, some children may need to have multiple surgeries to repair their palate and/or lip. They may also need speech therapy or learn to speak clearly. Some children will need to wear a brace on their face for several months or years after surgery in order to keep their mouth open when they eat and breathe normally. Most children who have undergone cleft palate repair will eventually require dental work as well as orthodontic treatment if they’re not already wearing braces for other reasons (such as crowding).
Clefts are a serious health issue, but surgery can make a big difference in the life of child.
Clefts are a serious health issue. They can cause pain, difficulty eating and speaking, and emotional problems. In most cases, surgery can make a big difference in the life of child. Early intervention and treatment are important for children with clefts because they help improve their quality of life as they grow up.
Many factors influence what long-term outcomes will be like for children with clefts who have been treated surgically:
- The severity of their cleft palate or lip deformity
- Their age when they undergo surgery (the younger they are at surgery, the better)
Cleft palates are a common birth defect that can cause serious health problems. Early intervention is key to helping children with clefts, and surgery can make a big difference in the life of child.