First Time User? Sign Up Now
First Time User? Enroll now.
Home > Health Library > Cleft Lip
Cleft lip is a treatable birth defect of the mouth that appears as one or more splits (clefts) in the upper lip. Cleft lip can range from a small indentation in the lip (incomplete cleft) to a split in the lip that may extend up into one or both nostrils (complete cleft), and possibly into the palate.
Cleft lip forms early in fetal development. The main causes seem to be family history and the mother's health during pregnancy.
Cleft lip often occurs with cleft palate. These conditions are the most common birth defects of the head and neck. Cleft lip, whether it occurs alone or with cleft palate, is more common in males.
Cleft lip is corrected with surgery, usually within a newborn's first 3 to 6 months. Depending on the type and severity of the deformity, more than one surgery may be needed. Sometimes other treatments, such as speech therapy, are also beneficial. Feeding by bottle or at the breast usually doesn't require any special measures.
Current as of:
March 27, 2018
Medical Review:Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & John Pope, MD, MPH - Pediatrics & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Adam D. Schaffner, MD, FACS - Plastic Surgery, Otolaryngology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2018 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
1430 N Salem Street
Apex, NC 27502
2615 Lake Drive
Raleigh, NC 27607
901 Ridgefield Drive
Raleigh, NC 27609
4420 Lake Boone Trail
Raleigh, NC 27607
357 Carolina Arbors Drive
Durham, NC 27703
UNC REX Healthcare4420 Lake Boone TrailRaleigh, NC 27607, USA919-784-3100
Chosen for Excellence
Co-Worker & Physician Login
UNC Health Talk
Copyright 2019 UNC Health Care. All rights reserved.