Cleft Lip and Palate

Mount Sinai surgeons have extensive experience treating malformations of the lip and palate, including the most complex cases. Our multidisciplinary team of surgical experts has a long-standing history of treating children and adults with rare, complex disorders affecting the head and neck. We've made important contributions to the field, incorporating the latest techniques and research into our practice.

We offer hope to you through treatment and compassion. We understand that you may have suffered with physical and emotional effects of abnormalities of a cleft lip and palate and we are here to address all of your concerns and help restore your quality of life.

The cleft may involve the entire lip or just a portion of it. It may extend from the lip, through the gum tissue (alveolus), and pass through the roof of the mouth (palate). In most cases, a cleft lip is seen with a cleft palate but either may be seen alone.

Cleft Lip

A cleft lip is a visible space in the upper lip that may extend the entire length of the lip from the bottom of the nose to the opening of the mouth. Or it may appear on just a part of that area.

An infant with a cleft lip may have difficulty making a seal around a bottle and thus have trouble with drinking and maintaining an adequate weight. Your baby’s cleft lip may be diagnosed before birth during a routine sonogram as early as 18 weeks of pregnancy. Knowing about this condition ahead of time gives you time to plan for your baby's care.

A cleft lip may be associated with other medical conditions that may require additional treatment, in addition to taking care of the lip.

Cleft Lip Treatment

The surgery to close the cleft lip may be performed when your baby is three months old. The procedure involves borrowing tissue from the lip on both sides of the cleft. Following surgery, we will monitor the scar.

Cleft Palate

A cleft palate is a defect in the hard or soft portion of roof of the mouth. The gap may extend the entire length of the palate from in front of the teeth to the back of the soft portion.

An infant with a cleft palate may have difficulty sucking on a bottle and loose fluid from the nose. Your baby may also develop fluid in the ears, which can affect hearing.

We may diagnosis your unborn baby’s cleft palate as early as 18 weeks of development. Early awareness of cleft palate gives you time to plan for your baby's care.

Cleft Palate Treatment

Our surgeons may repair a cleft palate when your child is 10 to 12 months of age, before your child starts really talking. The procedure involves taking tissue from either side of the palate and moving towards the middle to seal the cleft. Following surgery, we will follow your child with special interest concerning speech and language development.

Thanks to the surgical expertise of Mount Sinai doctors, we offer outstanding outcomes for lip and cleft palate conditions.