Cleft Palate

Legal Help is Available for Cleft Palate

Cleft palate and cleft lip –also known as harelip –in which parts of the lip or palate don’t fuse during pregnancy, are complex and fairly common birth defects occurring in one to two out of every thousand births. Successful therapy for the conditions is widely available, although treatment must proceed among many levels of care.

A child may be born with a cleft lip, cleft palate or both. The cleft palate can be either a defect of the soft palate or extend through the hard palate. The condition can lead to feeding difficulties during infancy, hearing loss due to middle ear fluid buildup, and dental abnormalities, among other problems.

Cleft Palate Requires Continuous Therapy

An interdisciplinary team of specialists, beginning from soon after the child’s birth and possibly continuing for many years, can best handle therapy for these two conditions. General surgery for a cleft lip, during which the lip is repaired (leaving a scar under the nose), takes place in the first three to six months of a child’s life. Cleft palate surgery, or palatoplasty, is a more complex procedure that connects the soft palate muscles from each side and creates a normal barrier between the mouth and nose. The surgery is performed in the first six to nine months of life and requires a two-night hospital stay.

Subsequent therapy might include additional surgeries such as a pharyngoplasty to improve speech, speech and language skills therapy from a speech language pathologist, and orthodontic treatment such as braces. Psychology treatments may help a child overcome feelings of shame or inferiority stemming from the condition.

Topamax Increased Risk of Cleft Palate

Cleft lip and cleft palate can be familial genetic conditions, or the result of environmental factors. Their precise causes are unknown. But in March 2011, the Food and Drug administration announced that the drug Topamax, or topiramate, used to treat epileptic seizures or prevent migraines, significantly increased the risk of these birth defects in the children of women who took the drug during pregnancy.

Legal Help for Cleft Palate and Cleft Lip

If your child was born with a cleft lip or cleft palate and you took Topamax while pregnant, contact one of Chaffin Luhana LLP’s Topamax lawyers at 1-888-480-1123 for a free and confidential case review today. You may be entitled to compensation, and the lawyers at Chaffin Luhana can help.