Cleft lip is a condition where a child is born with a split in their upper lip, which may extend all the way to the base of the nose. Even though the condition does not cause any physical problems or issues, it hampers the overall appearance of a person. This is why people opt for treatment of the condition.
The condition is not that uncommon and several newborn children suffer from a cleft lip. The cause of the condition is unknown, but doctors hypothesize that the disorder takes place when not enough tissue material is present to fill out the gap in the upper lip, while the child is still inside the womb of the mother. Another possible cause may be the medication that the mother is on during the pregnancy. Some of these drugs may lead to cleft lip after the child is born.
Children suffering from a cleft lip may face difficulty while eating or drinking, which can lead to complications. The condition may often causer hearing issues as well, along with dental problems. Finally, since the upper lip is not fully formed for such individuals, people with a cleft lip may suffer from speech disorders a s well.
A cleft lip surgery is the primary process through which treatment for the condition can be sought. Usually, a team of doctors will need to be consulted regarding the treatment. For instance, a plastic surgeon, oral surgeon, an otolaryngologist and a dentist are some of the major doctors that need to associated with the treatment for the condition.
Usually, a single surgery is conducted for repairing the issue on the upper lip. However, more surgical procedures may be required if the cleft lip is quite significant. In case of two surgeries, the first will be performed when the baby is at least 3 months old. The child is put under general anaesthesia, but doctors go the extra mile and use local anaesthesia at the region of surgery as well. This is done to increase the numbness ranging from the general anaesthesia.
While this surgery can be performed at any point of time, for the best results doctors prefer performing it between the ages of 3 and 6 months.
Children that are born with a cleft lip are eligible for the surgery. The level of and depth of the cleft also determines whether treatment is crucial. Many people with mild cleft choose to remain without undergoing the surgery throughout their lives, however the treatment is vital in case of severe cleft formations.
People who suffer from other conditions that may disfigure the face, should not seek the surgery for cleft repair. If the damage is caused to the palette, there are separate treatment procedures for it and patients should not undergo cleft lip repair.
Although there are no substantial side effect of the surgery, there is always a risk of facing unforeseen issues after the operation has been completed. For instance, patients may experience the stitch coming off or excess bleeding from the spot. Other side effects from the surgery may include, breathing problems, infection of the sight and difficulty in drinking liquid items.
Once the surgery has been completed, parents must maintain proper nutrition of the child. Doctors claim that breast milk during the recuperation helps the child heal from the after effects of the procedure. Furthermore, care must be taken of the sutures put in place on the upper lip region. This care generally involves using a cotton swab and diluted hydrogen peroxide to wash the stitches. Aside from this, application of topical antibiotic lotion on the spot of surgery is also recommended.
If the surgery succeeds, recovery may not take long. However, if a single surgery is unable to rectify the condition, a second surgery may be needed at a later point of time. At any rate, recovery does not take long, even though the scarring may remain for a long time after the surgery. In some cases, the scar may remain for the rest of life.
Price for the treatment may differ from one place to the other. However, the cleft lip surgery usually takes anywhere between Rs. 1,80,000 and Rs. 3,00,000. If a second surgery is required for complete removal of the cleft lip.
Results of the treatment are permanent, as the split in the upper lip is rectified with the surgery.