Cleft lip and cleft palate, also known as orofacial cleft, is a group of conditions that includes a cleft lip (CL), cleft palate (CP), and both together (CLP). A cleft lip contains an opening in the upper lip that may extend into the nose. The opening may be on one side, both sides, or in the middle.
The causes of orofacial clefts among most infants are unknown. Cleft lip and cleft palate are thought to be caused by a combination of genes and other factors, such as things the mother comes in contact with her environment, or what the mother eats or drinks, or certain medications she uses during pregnancy.
A cleft causes the problem with feeding and speaking, hearing problems and the problem with the teeth. Orofacial clefts, especially cleft lip with or without cleft palate, can be diagnosed during pregnancy by routine ultrasound. They can also be diagnosed after the baby is born, especially cleft palate. However, sometimes certain types of cleft palate might not be diagnosed until later in life.
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