Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate
Cleft lip and cleft palate facts
What is a cleft lip? What is a cleft palate?
A cleft lip is an opening extending through the upper lip. It may be in the midline (center) or left and/or right side of the lip. A cleft palate is an opening of the hard palate (the bony front portion of the roof of the mouth) or the soft palate (the muscular non-bony region in the rear of the roof of the mouth. Similar to a cleft lip, a cleft palate may be midline and/or to either right of left side of the palate. A cleft palate may extend from the upper jawbone to the rear of the throat.
Since development of the lip and palate occur at different times during gestation, an infant may have either a cleft lip or cleft palate or clefting of both regions.
How often do cleft lip and cleft palate occur?
Cleft lip, either as a sole malformation or coupled with cleft palate occur in approximately one in 700 live births. Boys are twice as likely to have a cleft lip with or without an associated cleft palate. On the other hand, girls are more likely to have a cleft palate alone (those not associated with a cleft lip malformation). Ethnic background has been shown to affect the frequency of clefts. Children of Asian, Latino, or Native American ancestry are more frequently affected when compared to those of Caucasian background.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/9/2014