Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
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Home / A–Z Services / Cleft and Craniofacial Center / Cleft Lip and Palate Conditions
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Cleft Lip and Palate Conditions


Cleft lip and/or cleft palate is a separation that occurs in the lip or the palate (roof of the mouth), or both. Cleft lip and cleft palate are the most common congenital craniofacial anomalies seen at birth.

Our experts provide medical and surgical intervention for cleft lip and cleft palate repairs.

Cleft lip. A cleft lip is an abnormality in which the lip does not completely form. The degree of the cleft lip can vary greatly, from mild (notching of the lip) to severe (large opening from the lip up through the nose).

Cleft palate. Cleft palate occurs when the roof of the mouth does not completely close, leaving an opening that can extend into the nasal cavity. The cleft may involve either side of the palate. It can extend from the front of the mouth (hard palate) to the throat (soft palate). The cleft may also include the lip.

Learn more about cleft lip and cleft palate.

Cleft rhinoplasty. Rhinoplasty is a surgery to change the size, shape, or breathing of your nose. In patients with a cleft lip, the nose may be out of position, misshapen and have a narrow nasal airway. Rhinoplasty can change the appearance of the bridge or tip of your nose, as well as your nostrils. On the inside of the nose, other structures such as the septum and turbinates may be malformed and result in obstructed nasal breathing. Most often people with a cleft lip who have rhinoplasty do so in order to breathe better and have their nose look more normal.

Last Edited: July 20, 2016
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