A Cleft palate occurs when the tissue that forms the roof of the mouth of a fetus fails to join together fully during pregnancy. Normally, the roof of the mouth (the palate) forms between the sixth and ninth months of pregnancy. In some cases, a child will be born with the front and back palates open.

But in others, only one part of the palate is open. The good this is that the cleft palate problem can be treated with surgery and other treatments like speech therapy and dental care. In this article, you will learn what happens during cleft palate repair.

Cleft Palate Repair Process

Children born with clefts have a particular care plan that is tailored to their individual needs. Here are some of the important elements of a cleft palate repair plan:

  • Birth to six weeks – feeding assistance, support for parents, hearing tests, and pediatric assessment
  • Three to six months – surgery to repair the cleft lip
  • Six to twelve months – surgery to repair the cleft palate
  • Eighteen months – speech assessment
  • Three years – speech assessment
  • Five years – speech assessment
  • Eight to twelve years – bone graft to repair a cleft in the gum area
  • Twelve to fifteen years – orthodontic treatment and monitoring jaw growth

Also, your child will have to go for regular outpatient checkups at the cleft center so that the doctor can monitor their condition closely. These visits to the doctor also help identify potential problems early to be dealt with easily. Your child should go for these checkups until their 21st birthday when they’ve stopped growing.

Palate Repair Surgery

This surgery should be done when the child is between 6 and 12 months old. It helps to close the open roof of the child’s mouth and muscles and rearrange the palate lining. The wound is closed with dissolvable stitches. This procedure takes about two hours and is done using general anesthesia to keep the child asleep through the surgery.

It is also important to mention that this surgery is an inpatient procedure, and therefore you should be prepared to stay with your child in the hospital for about three days. Usually, the scar of the cleft palate repair is inside the mouth. In some instances, your child may need additional surgery to repair and improve the function of their palate, lips, and nose. For more information on cleft palate repair, talk to Head and Neck today.