Cleft Palate

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Cleft Palate

Cleft palate is the oral malformation that occurs in very early pregnancy in the mother’s womb. It is a physical split or separations or openings present in the roof of the mouth (palate). Clefting occurs when the facial structures that are developing in an unborn baby does not close completely because of the lack of enough tissue.

A cleft palate may involve the hard palate, the bony front portion of the roof of the mouth or the soft palate, the soft back portion of the roof of the mouth. Cleft palate is the birth defect, most commonly seen among girl children than among boys.


Cleft palate is observed immediately after the birth. It might appear as a split in the roof of the mouth (palate) that involves one or both sides of the face. One may observe the following complications:

  • Eating problems: Difficulty swallowing, with probability for liquids or foods to come out of the nose.
  • Voice from the nasal (Nasal Voice).
  • Chronic ear infections: Infants with cleft palate are at increased risk to the ear infections as they are more prone to the fluid build up in the middle ear.
  • Feeding difficulties: As the roof of the mouth is not formed completely, infants may face trouble in sucking.
  • Speech and language delay: Due to the opening in the roof of the mouth, the muscle function is minimized, and may lead to speech delay.
  • Dental problems: Teeth may not erupt properly due to the abnormalities in the palate.


The exact reason for cleft palate is not clear. Few reasons could be:

  • Smoking or alcohol consumption during pregnancy
  • Obesity during pregnancy
  • Lack of folic acid during pregnancy
  • Genetically inherited from parents
  • Use of some medications such as ant seizures, steroids taken during early pregnancy


Cleft palate is normally seen immediately after birth or during the newborn physical examination done within 72 hours of giving birth.

As the cleft palate is associated with different problems, it needs a team approach. A team of specialists are involved in the treatment. The team may generally include:

  • Plastic surgeon: to evaluate and perform essential surgeries on the palate.
  • An ENT doctor : to evaluate hearing problems
  • An oral surgeon: to reposition segments of the upper jaw if needed, to improve the function and appearance and to repair the cleft of the gum
  • A Dentist, Orthodontist and Prosthodontist : to perform routine dental care, reposition teeth and create artificial teeth to meet functional requirements for eating and speaking.
  • A speech pathologist and therapist: to evaluate speech and feeding problems, to improve the child’s speech.
  • Other healthcare professionals like psychologist, nurse etc.

Management of the cleft palate often requires many surgeries over the course of 18 years.

The initial surgery is performed between 6 and 12 months of age. This involves the creation of a functional palate that helps reduce the development of fluid in the middle ears and assist in proper development of the teeth and facial structures. At the age of 8 years, children might require a bone graft to fill in the upper gum line, support permanent teeth and stabilize the upper jaw.

Additional surgeries may require to improve the speech, breathing, appearance of lip and nose; and close the slits between the mouth and nose. Final repairs of the scars left by the initial surgery will probably be performed after adolescence, when the facial structure is more fully developed.


BSR ENT Hospital have an experienced team of specialists who are highly qualified and trained in handling Cleft palate like Dr. B. Shankar Rao, MS, DLO, FICS and Dr. B. Kalyan Chakravarthy, MS ENT / Head and Neck surgeon. The team is supported by dedicated staff like qualified & trained nurses and other technical staff.

BSR is equipped with latest technologies and equipment for diagnosis and effective treatment. We are committed to delivering excellent personalized, patient care. Our 40 years of experience in the in ENT care has helped us earn the trust and confidence of our patients from across the country.

The Hospital has emergency care and consultations that are available on appointments.

Have questions or need an appointment for any of your ENT problems ?

Call : 040-27848166 / 9059311554    or     :

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