Cleft lip and palate history and symptoms

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

Overview

History and Symptoms

A child may have one or more of these conditions at birth.

A cleft lip may be just a small notch in the lip. It may also be a complete split in the lip that goes all the way to the base of the nose.

A cleft palate can be on one or both sides of the roof of the mouth. It may go the full length of the palate.

Other symptoms include:

  • Misaligned teeth
  • Change in nose shape (amount of distortion varies)


A direct result of an open connection between the oral cavity and nasal cavity is velopharyngeal insufficiency (VPI). Because of the gap, air leaks into the nasal cavity resulting in a hypernasal voice resonance and nasal emissions.[1] Secondary effects of VPI include speech articulation errors (e.g., distortions, substitutions, and omissions) and compensatory misarticulations (e.g., glottal stops and posterior nasal fricatives).[2].

Other problems that may arise because of a cleft lip or palate are:

  • Failure to gain weight
  • Feeding problems
  • Poor growth
  • Recurrent ear infections


References

  1. Sloan GM (2000). "Posterior pharyngeal flap and sphincter pharyngoplasty: the state of the art". Cleft Palate Craniofac. J. 37 (2): 112–22. PMID 10749049.
  2. Hill, J.S. (2001). Velopharyngeal insufficiency: An update on diagnostic and surgical techniques. Current Opinion in Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, 9, 365-368.



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