Cleft Lip

Can cleft lips be treated?

Yes, cleft lips can be successfully treated with surgery. Our team's plastic surgeons and orthodontists work with our patients' parents to choose the best timing for surgery. In most cases, a baby's cleft lip will be repaired within the first 3 months after birth. The actually timing of the surgery depends on the patient's general health and the nature of the cleft lip. Typical treatment and follow-up plans are outlined below:

At Birth: Newborn Nursing Consultation & Follow-up

The treatment process starts with a nursing consultation for new parents to learn about and get support for diagnosis, feeding and treatment plans.

First 2 Weeks: Orthoodontic Evaluation

Our orthodontists assess the cleft, and if needed, fit the baby with an orthodontic appliance that may help to narrow the gap between the lips and gums, improve the symmetry of the nose and minimize the amount of scaring from the surgery. For babies with "bilateral cleft" (a gap on both sides of the lip) the appliance may also bring back the small central portion of the lip and gum in a controlled fashion. Because the lip and gum are in a better position, it simplifies the surgical repair.

4 - 6 Weeks: Plastic Surgery Consultation

Our surgeons assess the cleft and begin planning for surgery. 4 Weeks Before Surgery: Pre-admission Clinic Consultation Our anesthetist and nurse ensure that our patient is ready to have anesthetic and surgery.

4 Weeks Before Surgery: Pre-admission Clinic Consultation

Our anesthetist and nurse ensure that our patient is ready to have anesthetic and surgery.

3-4 Months: Cleft Lip Surgery

Our surgeons repair the cleft in the lip.

6 Weeks After Surgery: Plastic Surgery Follow-up Appointment

Our patient is assessed by either our team, or by specialists in our patient's community.

3 Years: Cleft Lip Team Assessment

Our patient is assessed by the entire team over the course of a 1-2 day out-patient visit.

Before School: Cleft Lip & Nose Revision Surgery

If appropriate our patient undergoes lip and nose revision surgery.

5 Years: Cleft Lip Team Assessment

If appropriate, our patient is assessed by the plastic surgery and orthodontics over the course of a 1-2 day out-patient visit.

DOWNLOAD the detailed Treatment & Follow-Up for a Cleft Lip (Birth to School Age)

How does a cleft lip impact a child?

We use our lips to do many things, from eating and drinking to speaking. Patients with cleft lips may have issues related to their: