What is a cleft
Cleft lip, cleft palate or both, are of the most common Craniofacial Anomalies that occur during birth and come to disrupt the happiness that the coming of a baby brings to parents. Known from the ancient times and wrapped in superstition, it was a real stigma for the family, but also for the child who was hiding all his life.
Cleft lip occurs when tissues in the medial nasal and the maxillary facial processes of the fetus don’t fuse properly during the embryonic period. Cleft palate is the result of unfortunate fusion of palatal maxillary processes.
What is the frequency of clefts
Clefts occur on average about once in every 600 births. In Cyprus around 15 babies with cleft lip/palate are born every year, while in Greece it is estimated that approximately 200-250 children are born with cleft lip/palate every year.
What causes clefts
The lack of folic acid, smoking and alcohol during pregnancy, are referred to as causative factors in bibliography. However, the exact causes remain unknown. Simple cleft – unlike most severe syndromes – does not follow known rules of inheritance. However, quite often in the family there is a relative with the same problem.
Clefts relate with mental development?
Although in some cases cleft might be part of a more serious condition (syndrome), most of the times is not accompanied by other problems. Mental development is normal and when the restoration of appearance and functional problems is completed, the child can join the society without any problem or stigma.
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