Cleft Lip

Birth Defects: Cleft Lip & Cleft Palate

Cleft lip and cleft palate, categorized as orofacial birth defects, are defined as an opening in the lip and/or palate (the roof of the mouth). These orofacial clefts occur when the fetus does not develop fully in the womb.

On average, cleft lip and cleft palate affect 1 or 2 babies out of 1,000 each year in the U.S. In fact, orofacial clefts are two of the most common major birth defects. Cleft lip and cleft palate more frequently affect newborns of the following descents: Asian, Latino and Native American.

There are surgical treatments available for children with cleft lip or cleft palate. A newborn affected by an orofacial defect can undergo surgery within the first 12 to 18 months to repair the cleft lip or cleft palate.

About Cleft Lip & Cleft Palate

A cleft lip (harelip) or cleft palate develops within the first three months of pregnancy if parts of the lip or palate do not entirely fuse together. An orofacial cleft can be defined as unilateral (occurs on one side of the mouth) or bilateral (occurs on both sides of the mouth).

A cleft lip can vary in size from a small opening in the lip to a larger opening that extends into the nasal area. A cleft palate may affect only the soft palate or it may affect the hard palate as well (a complete cleft).

A child can be born with a cleft lip only, cleft palate only, or both, when the lips and the palate do not develop simultaneously. The clefts are categorized into three basic categories:

  •  Cleft lip without a cleft palate
  •  Cleft palate without a cleft lip
  •  Cleft lip and cleft palate

Studies have shown that newborn males and females are affected differently by cleft lip and cleft palate. Newborn males are affected more often by cleft lip (with or without cleft palate), while newborn females more frequently develop only a cleft palate.

Unfortunately, children born with orofacial defects may suffer from side effects including feeding difficulties, middle ear fluid buildup and hearing loss, dental abnormalities, and speech difficulties.

Legal Help for Cases of Cleft Lip or Cleft Palate

If you or a loved one believes a drug taken during pregnancy has adversely affected your newborn with a cleft lip or cleft palate, you are urged to contact a cleft lip or palate lawyer today. You may be entitled to compensation, and Chaffin Luhana can help. Call our toll-free number for a free, no-obligation case evaluation: 1-888-480-1123.