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What is Cleft palate?

Cleft palate, which is medically known as palatoschisis, is one of the most common congenital defects worldwide. A child has a cleft palate if he or she has an incompletely formed roof of the mouth. This defect may vary in severity, and sometimes it’s combined with a cleft lip which is another common birth defect.

A cleft palate usually occurs very early in the development of the fetus. What usually happens during fetal development is that the roof of the mouth fails to form normally. Although this defect can’t be avoided, there are certain factors known to cause a cleft palate in a child.

Some of the known causes are:

  • Genetic problems passed down any or both parents
  • Substance abuse
  • Viruses or toxins acquired while on pregnancy
  • Medications

However, thanks to science and technology, surgery can be done on this birth defect to close the roof of the mouth completely. Cleft palate repair or Palatoplasty is the plastic surgery used to fix this abnormal development. It can restore its normal function and improve the appearance of the child.

There are specialized cleft palate repair techniques that can be used to fix it. Once it’s done, your child will have a significant improvement in his or her ability to speak, breathe, and swallow. Moreover, there’ll be a significant improvement on the appearance of the face of the child.

The child’s reputation will be gained if an early intervention will be made. Some well-experienced plastic surgeons can help you with this concern. Most of the time, cleft palate repair is one of the surgeries offered by doctors during medical missions.

Free Sleeping Baby's Face Stock Photo

When can a child have a cleft palate repair?

The timing of the cleft repairs depends on the individual circumstances of your child. A child between the ages six and twelve months are the perfect candidates for palatoplasty. Doing the surgery at a later age may affect the speech development of the child.

How much does a cleft palate repair cost?

The cost of cleft palate repair widely varies. Several factors affect its cost. It depends on the geographic location, type of procedure used, extent and complexity of the method, the longevity of the procedure, and the surgeon’s experience.

By: NationwideChildrens

Typically, a cleft palate repair cost ranges from $5,000 to $10,000 per surgery alone. However, health insurances will likely cover the cleft palate repair surgery because it’s a reconstructive procedure. You can ask your insurance company for requirements, policies, and conditions.

How to choose a surgeon?

Cleft palate repair may be a personal preference, but it’s an important procedure to improve the normal function of your child. What matters most is your child’s ability to function and grow normally. To ensure that each surgical choice is accessible to you, find a specialist who has the following:

  • Certification and Membership. First of all, make sure that a surgeon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Memberships may not be necessary, but it could be a great indication that that surgeon is well-skilled.
  • Experience. A surgeon’s experience can tell well if he can give you a safe and satisfying breast augmentation surgery. If you’re up for a particular technique of male breast reduction, look for a surgeon that has experience in performing the procedure. Moreover, it’s better to find a doctor that’s an expert on one technique that can “do it all.”
  • Reputation. One way to find an excellent plastic surgeon is seeking a recommendation. If you know someone who went through a male breast reduction, ask them. Check the doctor’s record for any malpractice complaint. This information should be made public by state medical boards.

A cleft palate repair surgery involves many choices. Make sure that you choose a surgeon that you can trust.

Where will the surgery be performed?

Cleft palate repair or palatoplasty is usually performed in the operation room of a hospital as it’s considered as reconstructive surgery.

You must also know that the child may need to be staying at the hospital for a maximum of two days. However, this depends on the doctor’s assessment of the child after the surgery.

What to do before the surgery?

Before the surgery occurs, your child will be assessed by your chosen surgeon. This will help the surgeon know the extent of the surgery and the type of technique to be used. There’ll be a detailed discussion about the entire procedure, medical and physical examinations for the child, anesthesia to be used, pre-surgical concerns, post surgical risks, and complications. Make sure that you raise any concern to the surgeon. It’s you and your child’s convenience that’s important.


Since the patient is a child, any medications and anesthesia will be given to your child’s comfort all throughout the surgery. Usually, general anesthesia will be given to the baby. However, your doctor will recommend the best option for your child.


An antibiotic will be administered to your child after surgery to prevent the risk of infections. Pain relievers will also be administered to help ease the pain. You’ll also observe bleeding and soreness of the roof of the child’s mouth, but it’ll be temporary.

A temporary tube will be inserted in your child’s nostril. This tiny tube will aid the child’s breathing until the swelling disappears. It’ll also be an aid for feeding the child.


The results of the cleft palate repair of your child will make a huge difference in his or her quality of life, the capacity to breathe, ability to eat and speak properly. However, secondary surgical procedures may be required for functional reasons or to further refine the child’s appearance.

Cleft palate repair risks and safety

Cleft palate repair surgery is a personal preference, and your plastic surgeon will thoroughly discuss with you during the initial consultation about the benefits, goals and possible risks or complications. When you fully understand what the surgeon has told you, consent forms and waivers will be asked for you to affix your signature on.

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