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CLEFT INFORMATION

Overview cleft lip and palate

Every year, more than 500 babies are born with cleft lip and/or palate conditions in Bolivia!

Cleft lip and palate (CLP) is the most common congenital facial deformity in the world. About 1 in 500-600 children are affected. Cleft lip and palate is present in every country and in all sections of society.

There are many different kinds of cleft deformations. They can occur as a cleft lip either on one side of the face (unilateral) or on both sides of the upper lip (bilateral), as a cleft palate, cleft lip and palate or cleft lip and maxilla. Other types of cranio-facial clefts such as lateral clefts or facial clefts are rarer. Cleft lips and palates account for seventy per cent of the cases.



Bilateral cleft lip and palate
Bilateral cleft lip and palate

Simple cleft lip

Simple cleft lip



Cleft palate

Cleft palate



Left-hand lip and maxilla cleft

Left-hand lip and maxilla cleft



Transverse cranio-facial cleft with partial loss of eye

Transverse cranio-facial cleft with partial loss of eye



Full cleft of lip and maxilla

Full cleft of lip and maxilla



Effects of Cleft

Babies with cleft are often sickly and underweight because it is difficult for them to drink milk. If their clefts are left untreated, the children can suffer from health problems such as ear infections and deafness, emotional problems due to others shunning or ridiculing them for the way they look, and as a result social problems such as not doing well in school, not finding a partner and so forth.

Frequently both children and their families are treated as outcasts by their communities, and many families break down due to the stress and peer pressure.

Sadly, 12% of babies born with clefts and whose clefts are not treated die before they turn five years old.

The good news is that cleft can be treated very well!



Causes of cleft

Even though cleft lips and palates are the most common human birth defects doctors do not completely understand what actually causes them. There is no one reason for a cleft. Rather, there are genetic and environmental factors that make it likelier for a child to be born with a cleft condition:



Parents, the child, or anyone else cannot be made responsible for the cleft.