Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate

Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate

At Pandit Clinic, we have a very special expertise in handling all issues related to cleft care from day 1 to 25 years of age.

What is a Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate Surgery?

A cleft lip or a cleft palate is a birth defect. A cleft lip can be a small indentation in the lip or a complete break in the lip on one or both sides. The defect can extend through the roof of the mouth and a one sided or both sided cleft palate is formed. Cleft in the palate stretches to the entire length of the palate.

The cleft lip repair surgical procedure done when the child is 3 to 4 months old prevents the development of any future problems such as a speech impediment. The Cleft Palate is repaired when the child is 10 to 12 months old. The repair should be done before 18 months to get the best speech outcome.

When should one undergo Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate Surgery?

The timing of the cleft repairs depends on individual circumstances of your child. Cleft Lips are typically performed between 2 and 6 months of age depending on your child’s health status and local cleft team protocols. Cleft palate repairs are generally performed after cleft lip repair in a separate surgery when the child is between 9 to 18 months of age depending on the health status. 

Your child will also have to attend regular appointments at our center so that the condition can be monitored closely and any problems can be dealt with. These will be usually recommended until they are around  21 years of age.

Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate Results

clet lip result
cleft lip result

Questions to ask your Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate Surgeon?

  • Is my child a good candidate for Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate procedure?
  • What will be expected to get the best results?
  • Where and how will you perform my child's procedure?
  • How long of a recovery period can we expect?
  • What kind of help will my child need during the recovery?
  • What are the risks and complications associated with this surgery?
  • How will the complications be handled?
  • Do you have before-and-after photos of other patients?

Your Child's Care Plan

We, at Pandit Clinic have a very special expertise in handling all issues related to cleft care from day 1 to 25 years of age.

  • Birth to 6 weeks – feeding assistance, support for parents, hearing tests and pediatric assessment
  • 2 to 6 months – surgery to repair a cleft lip.
  • 9 to 18 months – surgery to repair a cleft palate.
  • 18 months – speech assessment.
  • 3 years – speech assessment
  • 5 years – speech assessment
  • 8 to 12 years – bone graft to repair a cleft in the gum area
  • 12 to 15 years – orthodontic treatment and monitoring jaw growth

What is the procedure for Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate surgery?

For the cleft lip surgical procedure, the child is given a general anesthesia wherein he / she falls asleep and feels no pain. Thereafter, the surgeon trims the tissues and proceeds to sew up the lip. The stitches and the scar are not easily noticeable. And the stitches absorb into the tissue as the scar heals. Hence, they need not be removed later. The cleft palate repair treatment follows the same process as the cleft lip repair treatment. But, during this treatment the tissue from the roof of the mouth may be moved over to cover the soft palate. Along with these two procedures the surgeon also recommends a surgery wherein the tip of the nose is repaired. This surgery is called rhinoplasty (or nose job).

Cleft Rhinoplasty: Nose Reshaping Surgery

Cleft Rhinoplasty is an important surgery performed in order to restore the functionality and appearance of the nose which might be affected due to the presence of cleft lip and cleft palate.

What are the advantages of this surgery?

  • The repair of cleft lip has immense importance as it restores normalcy. The mother and the family are under significant strain and a normal looking child is a great relief. Meticulous lip repair restores cosmetic and functional integrity. It helps the child to grow like other children, free of stigma.
  • The Cleft palate repair done at 10 to 12 months of age is a little more involved procedure. It takes up to 1.5 to 2 hours, and is performed under general anesthesia.
  • The main aim of this repair is to separate the oral and nasal cavity, repair the muscles and build up the roof of the mouth. It has profound influence on normal speech development.
  • The stitches are soluble and dissolve in about three to four weeks. Hard food is avoided for four weeks and objects like pen, keys, spoons are kept away to avoid injury to the newly repaired palate. The raw areas in the mouth may take up to two weeks to heal completely

What is the post surgery procedure?

  • The surgery for cleft lip or cleft palate takes between one and half to two hours. Your baby will be closely monitored after surgery. You may need to stay in the clinic overnight. Liquid or soft diet is recommended for a period of one week.
  • The stitches are taken with very fine nylon to get good healing and nice scars. Stitches are removed at the end of five days to one week.
  • The suturing material and concepts have changed over years and hand restraints are not recommended any longer.

Alveolar Bone Grafting Surgery

In patients with cleft lip and cleft palate, due to the congenital deformity in the upper jaw, part of the alveolus in the cleft region is absent. Because of this, the children may have few missing teeth in that area, also teeth around that region are usually rotated in various angles.

Alveolar bone grafting and orthodontic treatment for patients with cleft lip and cleft palate are offered by Dr Vikram Pandit, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon at Pandit Clinic.

Smile Train: A venture to counter cleft lip and cleft palate

Smile Train is a global Non-Profit Organization which is on a mission to provide free treatment to children born with Cleft Lip defect.Dr Shrirang Pandit our Founder and Plastic Surgery expert has been a part of Smile Train India’s work in Pune for more than 17 years now.  This venture is being successfully carried on at Poona Hospital in Pune.

Dr Shrirang Pandit, in his recent interview with Vividh Bharati, explains in detail all the questions that revolve around cleft palate and cleft lip which are actually major issues. He explains the presence of a hollow space in either one or both sides of the lip or even the palate. This is what cleft lip and cleft palate is. Often, the babies born with this defect have a rather different appearance which is a cause of huge concern for their parents and close family members.

Not only does this hollow space affect the appearance but it also affects the overall health of the baby as the baby, as it grows, finds difficulty in speaking, eating, growth of teeth, etc.

He also elaborates that although the reason behind this issue is still being speculated, he mentions there is a hereditary connection. Also, if the mother has a deficiency of Vitamin B6, it is likely that this defect will be present in the baby. He cancels out any and all superstitious beliefs that revolve around the said effect.

Treating cleft lip and palate on time is what Dr Shrirang Pandit stresses upon. The surgeries have to be performed at various ages in different stages. It requires a team of paediatrician, anaesthesiologist, ENT specialist, Oral Maxillofacial surgeon, speech therapist, etc. and all of these are leaded by an expert plastic surgeon.

The first surgery involving the correction of the lip must be performed during three to six months after the baby is born. The second one involves the correction of the palate which is between the ages 12 to 18 months. A surgery might be performed at age 5 years to correct any defects within the nose or to improve speech. The next important surgery involves the reconstruction of the gums with the help of bone graft. The last step of the surgery is done in between 18 to 20 years to correct the defects of the nose and the jaws.

 It is necessary to perform these surgeries on the correct time to maintain the benefits of the surgeries throughout the life.

Dr Shrirang Pandit also emphasizes on the role of parents in all of these procedures regarding the utmost care of the ward and a healthy healing and speedy recovery.

Dr Shrirang Pandit Cosmetic, Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Shrirang Pandit

MBBS, MS, Mch (Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon)

Meet Dr. Shrirang Pandit

Dr. Shrirang Pandit is the founder of the Pandit Clinic. He has an experience of 30+ years in plastic surgery. He is a renowned name in the industry and pioneer of aesthetic lasers in India. Dr. Shrirang Pandit has performed numerous surgeries on children with facial clefts, managed patients with burn injuries and also has a large experience with lasers on Asian Indian skin. He has attended various laser workshops and courses as faculty and is keen on educating the next generations. He is a life member of all the top plastic surgery associations like Association of Plastic Surgeons in India, Association of Surgeons of India, Indian Association of Cosmetic Laser Surgeons, to name a few. He also acts as a key opinion leader for Ultrashape Inc., Lumenis Inc, VASER Sound Surgical Technologies, USA

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