There is still mystery revolving around exactly what causes a cleft lip in infants, but one thing is for sure. Parents of children born with cleft lip in Utah and elsewhere will do anything to heal their baby and ensure that they have a normal life.
What is a Cleft Lip?
A cleft lip develops during pregnancy, when cells from each side of the head grow toward the center of the face to develop the facial features. If the tissue does not fully join, a cleft lip can occur. This cleft can vary in size, from a very small slit to an opening that goes through the lip and into the nose. A cleft lip can cause difficulties in eating and can also negatively impact speaking as the child grows. Children with cleft lips can also experience a higher incidence of ear infections.
Cleft Lip Risk Factors
The cause for cleft lip is not completely understood. There is a genetic component to this condition, and it can also be brought on by environmental factors. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has identified some risk factors in developing cleft lip in-utero:
- Smoking – the chances for a fetus developing a cleft lip increase in smokers.
- Diabetes – women with diabetes have babies with a cleft lip at increased levels over women who do not have diabetes.
- Certain medications – medications used to treat epilepsy can increase the chances of cleft lip.
Treatment for Cleft Lip
Surgery is usually recommended to repair cleft lip, and is typically performed within the first few months of life. Depending on the severity of the defect, several surgeries may be required. This surgery not only repairs the physical appearance of the child, but can help improve breathing as well as speech development later in childhood.
When children are facing a health issue, it is normal for parents to feel helpless and concerned. Dr. Eric Cerrati has the experience and skill needed to correct this condition, and can treat your child with the latest technological procedures available. If your child is suffering from a cleft lip, call Dr. Cerrati’s Utah office today to schedule a consultation.
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