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Cleft Lip

Christopher Brooks, MD -  - Plastic Surgery

Brooks Plastic Surgery

Christopher Brooks, MD

Plastic Surgery located in Hollywood, FL

An estimated 4,440 children are born each year with a condition known as cleft lip. For those living in and around Hollywood, Florida, Christopher Brooks, MD, of Brooks Plastic Surgery, is a valuable resource in correcting cleft lip. If you’re a new parent struggling to understand your treatment options for your baby’s cleft lip, call or use the online scheduling tool to set up a visit today.

Cleft Lip Q & A

What is cleft lip?

A baby’s lip forms between the fourth and seventh week of pregnancy. During that time, special cells on each side of your baby’s head develop and grow inward toward the center of the face. When they join, those tissues create the nose, lips, and mouth. 

In some cases, those facial tissues don’t fully join during pregnancy. That leaves a gap, or opening, in the upper lip, which is considered a cleft lip. That opening can be as slight as a small slit or as large as an opening that extends all the way through the lip and into the nose. 

What causes cleft lip?

Researchers aren’t sure of the exact causes of cleft lip, but there’s clearly a genetic component at play. It appears that cleft lip occurs when a genetic predisposition exists and is combined with certain environmental factors. 

When a mother has the following conditions, the risk of cleft lip increases:

  • Smoking during pregnancy
  • Use of certain medications used to treat epilepsy
  • Diabetes, both type 1 and type 2

Some women learn their baby has cleft lip after the condition is spotted on an ultrasound. In other cases, the condition is not diagnosed until after the child is born. 

How is cleft lip treated?

The only way to effectively treat cleft lip is with surgery. Because this condition is complex, a team approach is taken to ensure the best possible results. Dr. Brooks is proud to offer his surgical expertise as part of several cleft lip surgical teams. 

Surgery to correct cleft lip usually occurs when your baby is around three months old. In some cases, a special technique is used to lengthen your baby’s nose and align their lip prior to surgery. 

During the procedure, the two sides of your baby’s lip are closed with careful suturing. Once the procedure is complete, nose splints help maintain the new shape as your baby’s face heals. 

If you have questions or concerns about treatment for cleft lip, a personalized consultation can give you the details needed to make an informed decision about how to move forward. This can be a challenging time, and it’s normal to feel anxious about your baby’s health. 

Dr. Brooks takes the time to explain the process in detail to help you feel better about your options. Call or use the online booking tool to set up a consultation and learn more about your options.