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Cleft lip and palate

  • Alternative Names

    Cleft palate; Craniofacial defect


    A child may have one or more birth defects.

    A cleft lip may be just a small notch in the lip. It may also be a complete split in the lip that goes all the way to the base of the nose.

    A cleft palate can be on one or both sides of the roof of the mouth. It may go the full length of the palate.

    Other symptoms include:

    • Change in nose shape (how much the shape changes varies)
    • Poorly aligned teeth

    Problems that may be present because of a cleft lip or palate are:

    • Failure to gain weight
    • Feeding problems
    • Flow of milk through nasal passages during feeding
    • Poor growth
    • Repeated ear infections
    • Speech difficulties

    Signs and tests

    A physical examination of the mouth, nose, and palate confirms a cleft lip or cleft palate. Medical tests may be done to rule out other possible health conditions.