Cleft Lip is an incomplete joining of the upper lip below the nose. It is found in around one of every 1000 births. Children with cleft lip are found to be at risk for hearing, speech, language, academic, and social difficulties. This defect can occur in all ethnic groups but is most common in Asians. It is a prenatal and genetic type of birth defect. The cause of cleft lip is somewhat unknown but doctors have many ideas. Certain medications, and smoking while pregnant have been shown that they can lead to a baby having a cleft lip. If the mother is exposed to radiation or infections while pregnant it can also result in a cleft lip. In addition, is has been found that using alcohol or illegal drugs while pregnant can result in this birth defect. There are also genetic reasons such as a syndrome called Fragile X. It is a very easy to identify if a child may have this birth defect. The cleft may be a tiny notch in the lip or a defect where the barrier between the nose is missing, which is a hundred percent noticeable at birth. It can appear on one side of the face, both sides, or in the middle. The baby may experience feeding problems. Depending on the severity of the cleft lip special nipples, squeezable bottles, or temporary appliances may be used to feed the baby. Surgical procedure is the core treatment, and is recommended to be done by the sixth month of age. Sometimes there’s a process before surgery, which may consist of a mouth support (ex. a dental splint), a soft dental molding insert or a medical adhesive tape. Sometimes a cleft lip extends causing further issues like an odd shaped nose, and additional surgeries can be needed. Sometimes Speech therapy is often required later as well. After the surgery is completed it is best to avoid direct sunlight until the scar matures. The scar will appear very red, but over time it will become less obvious, to a point where you can barely tell where a birth defect took...
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