A cleft lip and/or cleft palate is a condition present at birth (congenital), characterised by a gap (cleft) in the tissues of the upper lip and/or palate in the roof of the mouth. Clefts can be one sided (unilateral) or two-sided (bilateral) and can involve the full height of the lip/palate (complete) or part of the height (incomplete). Clefts can occur by themsleves (isolated) or in association with additional congenital anomalies or with syndromes. The cause of a cleft is not completely understood but likley involves an interaction of environmental factors and genetic factors.
A multidisciplinary team of highly trained healthcare professionals provides care for people born with a cleft. Cleft care aims to help people with physical, functional (speech, hearing and eating) and pyshcological aspects of having a cleft. Often a staged treatment pathway is recommended but this is tailored to the specific type of cleft and will be explained in detail by a member of the cleft team.
To find out more about cleft lip and/or palate see these resourses:
CLAPA - what is a cleft lip and palate
NHS - cleft lip and palate
UK Government - cleft information for parents