Navigation Links
Thousands of U.S. Babies Born With Cleft Lip, Palate Each Year

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Dec. 31 (HealthDay News) -- When Americans hear "cleft lip" or "cleft palate," they often think of children in developing countries, but U.S. babies are by no means immune to the birth defect.

Each year about 7,000 American children are born with an oral cleft defect, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This means that their lip hasn't formed completely and isn't closed properly in the case of cleft lip or, in the case of cleft palate, that there's a hole in the roof of their mouth.

The good news, though, is that the condition is treatable.

"The outcomes for children are excellent," said Dr. Joseph Shin, chief of the division of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. "Children do fine with it. It's not the end of the world." Shin has served on humanitarian surgical missions for Operation Smile and other organizations to repair cleft lips and cleft palates in countries in South America, Mexico, Morocco and the Middle East.

Cleft lip and cleft palate aren't just cosmetic concerns, however. "There's a lot of function in the palate and the lip," explained Dr. Laura Swibel Rosenthal, an assistant professor in the departments of otolaryngology and pediatrics at Loyola University's Stritch School of Medicine in Chicago. "Babies have to eat and not have food go up through their nose."

Children born with these conditions can also have problems with their ears and sinuses because fluids can travel where they shouldn't. If the defects are not corrected when children are young, they can also interfere with a child's ability to speak properly. And, when the cleft is in the front of the mouth, it interferes with the development of the teeth, said Swibel Rosenthal, who added that sometimes, surgery is needed to move the jaw forward.

It's not clear exactly what causes oral clefts, according to the March of Dimes. Some factors that have been associated with an increased risk for cleft lip and palate include changes in some genes, a deficiency of folic acid before pregnancy, taking certain medications while pregnant, drinking alcohol during pregnancy and having certain infections during pregnancy.

But the biggest risk factor linked to oral clefts is smoking during pregnancy. About one in five babies born with a cleft lip or palate is born to a mother who smoked, according to the March of Dimes.

Shin noted, however, that "sometimes you can do everything right, and you can still have a child with cleft lip or palate."

For babies born with a cleft lip or palate, surgery is the main treatment. For cleft lip, he said, surgery is generally scheduled when the child is about 3 months old. For a cleft palate, surgery is usually done at about 1 year old or slightly younger so that there are fewer issues with speech, he said.

"The sooner you can do the repair, the better babies heal," Shin said.

Besides the procedures to repair the cleft lip or palate, children often also need surgeries for ear tubes to keep their ears clear of fluids while the repair is healing. Depending on the severity of the cleft palate and how the initial surgery has healed, children sometimes need a second surgery on their palates when they're 3 to 7 years old, according to Swibel Rosenthal. Also, cleft lips sometimes require a second surgery to get a better cosmetic outcome, she said. Most kids also will need braces, she added.

"Parents shouldn't be nervous about these conditions," Swibel Rosenthal said. "Although they sometimes require multiple surgeries, there are ways to treat cleft lip and cleft palate that are simple, and children do very well."

Because cleft lip and palate can be genetic conditions, it's possible that subsequent pregnancies may result in another baby being born with cleft lip or palate, though the odds are relatively low, she said. "If there's only one family member affected, the chances of another child having an oral cleft are about 4 percent," she noted. "If two or more family members are affected, the chances of another child having it are about 9 percent."

More information

The March of Dimes Foundation has more about cleft lip and palate.

To learn how one family dealt with an oral birth defect, read here.

SOURCES: Joseph H. Shin, M.D., chief, division of plastic and reconstructive surgery, Montefiore Medical Center, New York City; Laura Swibel Rosenthal, assistant professor, departments of otolaryngology and pediatrics, Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University, Chicago

Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Synthetic Pot Sending Thousands of Young People to ER: Report
2. Divorce costs thousands of women health insurance coverage
3. Moffitt researchers identify unique immune gene signature across thousands of patients solid tumors
4. Binding sites for LIN28 protein found in thousands of human genes
5. New Home Energy Savings Device Poised to Help Thousands Succeed Working from Home
6. Suffering of Thousands Prompts FDA Hearing about Hip Implants
7. DotComSecrets Offers Free Webinar to Make Individuals Skilled in Earning Thousands of Dollars by Becoming DCS’s Local Consultant
8. Flu Drug Tamiflu OK for Babies Under 1: FDA
9. Having Babies Sit Up May Help Them Learn
10. Babies born to mothers from the Philippines significantly smaller than those of Canadian-born women
11. Bigger Babies Have Bigger Brains as Teens: Study
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Thousands of U.S. Babies Born With Cleft Lip, Palate Each Year 
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Conventional wisdom preaches the ... In terms of the latter, setting the bar too high can result in disappointment, ... just slow progress toward their goal. , Research from reveals ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Michigan (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... June ... about the dangers associated with chronic pain and the benefits of holistic treatments, ... individuals who are suffering with Sickle Cell Disease. , Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Global law ... magazine’s 2016 Legal Elite. The attorneys chosen by their peers for this recognition are ... , Seven Greenberg Traurig Shareholders received special honors as members of this year’s Legal ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Topical BioMedics, Inc, makers of Topricin and MyPainAway Pain ... for a minimum wage raise to $12 an hour by 2020 and then adjusting it ... the lost value of the minimum wage, assure the wage floor does not erode again, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... Living, is proud to recognize Dr. Barry M. Weintraub as a prominent plastic ... most beautiful women in the world, and the most handsome men, look naturally ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... Mass. , June 24, 2016   ... Spaulding Rehabilitation Network,s Dean Center for Tick ... Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, MIT Hacking Medicine, University ... for Innovation, today announced the five finalists of ... for Lyme disease.  More than 100 scientists, clinicians, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 The Academy of ... recommendations that would allow biopharmaceutical companies to ... entities that make formulary and coverage decisions, a move ... of new medicines. The recommendations address restrictions ... appear on the drug label, a prohibition that hinders ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of ... report to their offering. ... The World Market for Companion Diagnostics covers the world market ... the report includes the following: , World ... Region (N. America, EU, ROW), 2015-2020 , World IVD ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: