Thursday, January 31, 2008


A cleft is a gap in a body structure that results from incomplete closing of a specific structure during development. Clefts that occur in the lip and palate (roof of the mouth) are called oral-facial clefts. There are two main types of oral-facial clefts: cleft lip/palate and isolated cleft palate.

Some babies have only a cleft lip. However, many babies with cleft lip have a cleft palate as well. These are called cleft lip/palate. Cleft palate also can occur by itself without cleft lip. This is called isolated cleft palate. Cleft lip/palate and isolated cleft palate are considered separate birth defects.

Here in the United States, clefts occur in 1 in 700 to 1,000 births, making it the one of the most common major birth defects.

The good news is that both cleft lip and cleft palate are treatable birth defects. Most kids who are born with these conditions can have reconstructive surgery within the first 12 to 18 months of life to correct the defect and significantly improve facial appearance.

There are some unfortunate children born with cleft/lip palate who are suffering., Not because they were born with a cleft/lip palate, but because they were born too poor to ever afford a surgery. Being born with a cleft in a developing country is truly a curse. You can help a desperate child not just with a new smile, but a new life.

Make a donation today at your favorite cleft lip/palate organizations.

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