Cleft Lip and Palate

The surgical experts at The Mount Sinai Hospital have extensive experience diagnosing and treating malformations of the lip and palate, even the most complex cases. The more common clefts of the lip and/or palate are congenital defects that affect roughly 1 in 750 births. 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.

The exact reason why some children are born with a cleft and others are not is unknown. The causes probably involve genetic as well as environmental factors. For the baby, the risk factors include:

  • Family member with a cleft lip or palate
  • Presence of other birth defects
  • Male gender

For the mother, the risk factors during pregnancy include:

  • Taking certain medications, such as anti-seizure medications or acne medications
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Having an illness or infection
  • Having a deficiency of folic acid

Contact Us

Tel: 212-241-4410
Fax: 212-241-5999

5 East 98th Street
8th Floor
New York, NY 10029


Repaired Cleft Palate

javier spotlightOur multidisciplinary approach to treating infant Javy’s cleft palate included surgery at 10 month of age, as well as specialized care in the meantime. Read more