What is a Cleft lip and Palate?
A cleft lip or a cleft palate is a common birth condition that involves the splitting of the upper lip or roof of the mouth. This happens because of an underdevelopment of the baby when in the womb and parts of his or her face did not join together in a proper way.
Out of the estimated 24.5 million births in the country every year, 27,000 to 33,000 babies are born with clefts. Babies can be born with the condition of a cleft lip or cleft palate or even both.
While a cleft lip might affect one or two sides of the lip, a cleft palate may be an opening in the back of the mouth or affect the palate that is running all the way to the front of the mouth.
However, the misconceptions surrounding an individual having a condition of a cleft lip and palate are many and need to be busted right away. So, here are the most common cleft palate treatment myths :
Myth 1: The condition is a purely cosmetic concern
Reality: There is a huge misconception about a cleft lip and palate being a purely cosmetic concern. This is not true as there are major survival and health issues related to it as well. There are often struggles in the most essential of activities like eating, talking and even breathing. Cleft surgery is extremely important as it eradicated problems with breathing, talking and eating. It also gives the individual’s confidence level a major boost.
Myth 2: A cleft lip and a cleft palate, both are the same
Reality: When there is no proper fusion of the lips during a baby’s fetal development. Whereas, a cleft palate refers to a hole or some kind of an opening in the roof of the mouth. The roof of the mouth is comprised of both hard and soft palate. A cleft palate occurs when the roof of the mouth has not undergone proper fusion during the development stage of the fetus.
Myth 3: Cleft can’t be treated with surgery
Reality: Reconstructive surgeries have become highly advanced now and cosmetic procedures to treat a cleft palate or cleft lip have amazing success rates. It is important to note that the surgery must be done as soon as possible after birth for the best results. According to experts, a cleft lip surgery should be done within 3-6 months after the birth of the child and a cleft palate between 9-18 months of age. But, most cleft repairing surgeries that take place later on are also successful.
Myth 4: Learning difficulties are associated with children with clefts
Reality: There are certain amounts of hearing or speech difficulties associated with the condition. But, most children born with clefts have the same achievement levels as their fellow mates who are born with clefts. Although there are certain facial conditions that do cause learning difficulties, clefts are not amongst them mostly.
Myth 5: Developing world children are the ones who are born with clefts
Reality: This is not at all true as it is not a matter of developing world or the developed side of the world. It is just that in the developed countries, children born with clefts get it repaired very soon, but the ones in most developing countries are not that fortunate to avail the advanced medical facilities. They do not have access to good and quality healthcare services or the resources which makes paying for the repairing of clefts even harder.