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Inherited Disorders and Birth Defects

Cleft palate

09/19/2007

Question:

Is there a cure for cleft palate? What is the prognosis.

Answer:

Cleft palate is a fairly common birth defect. About 1 out of 1500 newborns are born with a cleft palate. It is more common in girls than in boys.

Failure of the palate (roof of the mouth) to close happens early in gestation - about 6-8 weeks of pregnancy when the shelves of the roof of the mouth fail to come together and fuse.

The treatment for cleft palate is surgery. Usually this is done when the baby is between 9 and 18 months of age. Sometimes children with a cleft palate will also need speech therapy when they are older. If there are no other problems except for the cleft palate, the prognosis is excellent.

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Response by:

Anne   Matthews, RN, PhD Anne Matthews, RN, PhD
Associate Professor of Genetics
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University