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Cleft lip and palate

At Shriners Hospitals for Children, patients with a cleft lip and/or palate are treated by a multidisciplinary group of experts who work as a team to improve the child’s appearance and their ability to eat, breathe and communicate. Each patient’s unique treatment plan may include surgery, orthodontics, hearing, speech and psychological therapies, along with specialized support. The goal of the Shriners Hospital treatment program is to help each child achieve optimal function, improve their facial appearance to the fullest extent possible and restore their self-esteem.

Cleft lip and palate deformities are one of the most common birth defects in the U.S., occurring in approximately one of every 600 births. Clefts occur when the tissues that form the upper lip and roof of the mouth fail to join together before birth. Cleft deformities vary in size and because the lips and palate develop at different times, it is possible for babies to be born with a cleft lip only, a cleft palate only, or both. The condition is associated with alterations in oral function including eating, speaking and hearing due to problems with growth and structure of the face. Cleft lip and palate is corrected by reconstructive surgery in conjunction with multidisciplinary therapies.

Cleft lip and palate is a common and serious condition. Shriners Hospitals for Children is committed to improving care for children with this condition through a comprehensive, coordinated program of clinical excellence, education and research.

Care for cleft lip and/or cleft palate is currently available at nine Shriners Hospitals for Children. Available multidisciplinary services include surgery, orthodontics, hearing, speech, psychological therapies and additional support services. Services may vary at different locations.

For more information about a particular condition, contact your local Shriners Hospitals for Children directly or call 800-237-5055 in the U.S. or 800-361-7256 in Canada.