ZocdocAnswersWill I be able to treat my cleft lip after a craniofacial consultation?

Question

Will I be able to treat my cleft lip after a craniofacial consultation?

I was born with a cleft lip and am going to have a craniofacial consultation. I'm a 29 year old male. Should I get my hopes up and will this fix my lip?

Answer

I am sorry to hear that you have been dealing with a cleft lip for so long. As you are well aware by now, a "cleft" is a fissure or gap that is present due to incomplete fusion of different tissue prominences during gestational development. There are three such prominences of importance when it comes to the lip (frontonasal, maxillary, and mandibular prominences) and failure of fusion of any of these can result in a cleft lip (cheiloschisis). There are multiple different types of clefts, and they can be generally classified by whether they are incomplete (involving only the lip itself), complete (extending through the lip and into the nostril), unilateral (one side) or bilateral (both sides). As you can imagine, the complexity of the surgical correction correlates well with the complexity and severity of the cleft. Meaning that bilateral complete clefts are generally harder to fix then unilateral incomplete clefts. Also, cleft lips are generally corrected early in development (within the first year of life), which is something else to take into account. With that being said, surgical correction is the primary treatment for clefts and it is generally effective. Being that I cannot take a thorough history and exam through this forum, I wuold definitely recommend that you discuss your concerns with your surgeon. Best of luck, and I hope that this helps.

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