Genetic malformations: cleft lip

Written by: Antonio Vázquez Rodríguez
Published: | Updated: 18/07/2018
Edited by: Top Doctors®


What is cleft lip?

Cleft lip is a congenital malformation. In the formation of the perioral structures of the fetuses there are times that these structures do not just close and then children are born who have a deformity especially in the upper lip which is incomplete, this is associated with alterations in the formation of the nose and in many cases it can also be associated with alterations in the dental socket and on the palate causing what is called a cleft palate.

In 1 of every 20,000 pregnancies there is a risk of cleft lip in the baby 

What is the cause of the appearance of the cleft lip?

In certain races there is an endogamic issue, a genetic issue, however in our society the cause is unknown. We know that one in 20,000 pregnancies can give this alteration. Unfortunately many women abort this issue thinking it is a malformation that can not be resolved. Currently with the techniques we have are children who with very few interventions can be made to have a normal appearance and function, it is a pity that these fetuses are aborted.


How is the cleft lip manifested?

Mainly the cleft lip is manifested in an upper lip that has as a window. This is caused by the fact that the muscle that, in theory, should surround the oral cavity does not just close. In turn, this window also alters the formation of the nostril. In the case that the lip is also associated with an alveolar deformity when seeing the child's mouth we will see how the alveolus is not joined and in the case of being associated with alterations in the hard and soft palate we will see as the whole part of the sky from the mouth is directly in connection with the nostrils.


What are the possible complications associated with cleft lip?

There is a minimum percentage of children born with cleft lip that can be associated with syndromic alterations with other types of manifestations, but these are the minority, most of the children who have this alteration are normal children, the problem is that by not having a possibility of suction with the lip and in the case of having associated a cleft palate at first they have feeding problems, they can not breastfeed correctly. That is why they are usually put a series of teats to be able to feed until the first correction interventions begin. Later, once these small problems are corrected, the child develops correctly, but always that the different therapeutic steps are followed .


What is cleft lip surgery?

The surgery of the cleft lip depends mainly on when it has been practiced. In the surgeries done in the past, where the correction of the lip was done incorrectly, the patients were left with sequels that are the ones we are dealing with now, they are the sequels of both nasal defects and plasties that have been incompletely done in the lip. Nowadays children are treated correctly and the labial plasty is associated with a rhinoplasty, which is called Mc Comb technique, with which the child leaves perfectly reconstructed both the nose and the lip. Another section is the section of the cleft palate that is sometimes associated with cleft lip, in these cases you have to make two interventions. The first, the soft palate before the child begins to speak and then, after 3 to 4 years, we close the hard palate to allow normal growth of the maxilla.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

By Antonio Vázquez Rodríguez
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Has over 15 years experience and is an expert in orthognathic surgery, dental implants, sequelae of cleft lip alveolus fissures, tumors of the salivary glands, facial traumatology and ATM.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

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