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Inherited Disorders and Birth Defects

Late diagnosis of a cleft palet

01/29/2007

Question:

My 21 month old daughter was just refered to a specialist for what they think is a onset of a cleft palet. When she was born there were no signs of a cleft palet, she only had a slight hair lip that did not need any surgery. The hair lip is only noticable when she smiles, other wise her mouth is fine. After we found out that my three year old has a partial cleft palet that just was found. At birth she was fine also. So what is causing this to happen so late in their life?

Answer:

This question has been forwarded by Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders:

I am not aware of a cleft palate happening after birth. If a cleft palate is very small, there is the possibility that the doctors did not see it when your daughter was born. Also, there is something called a “submucous” cleft palate, which means there is a cleft of the palate, but there is skin covering the cleft so it is difficult to see and the diagnosis may not be made until much later on.

You do not mention what type of specialist is caring for your daughter, but if the doctor is someone that cares for children with cleft lip and cleft palate - he or she should be the best person to answer these questions about your daughter’s cleft palate.

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Response by:

Anne   Matthews, RN, PhD Anne Matthews, RN, PhD
Associate Professor of Genetics
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University